Chile and Bolivia jointly celebrate mine-clearance in border areas

Chile and Bolivian Defence ministers and Army commanders will be meeting Thursday to sign documents declaring Fields free of mines, the border areas of Tambo Quemado 1 and Tambo Quemado 2 along their common border which until only recently were planted with thousands of mines.

The ceremony and all the previous activities leading to the signing of documents accomplished in the framework of the Ottawa Convention on anti personnel mines was described by the Chilean army as “a decisive step towards closer cooperation links with a regional neighbour”.

Ministers Ruben Saavedra from Bolivia and Jaime Ravinet from Chile together with Bolivian Armed Forces chief of Joint Staff General Ramiro de La Fuente, Chilean Army commander in chief General Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba and his Bolivian Army counterpart General Antonio Cueto will be leading Thursday’s ceremony.

In the seventies during the one hundredth anniversary of the Pacific War 1979/1983 (involving Chile, Bolivia and Peru), Chilean forces, fearing a repeat of the confrontation, planted a total of 22.988 anti personnel and 8.765 anti-tank mines in 42 different fields along the border with Bolivia.

So far seven of the most highly concentrated fields have been cleared.

As a result of the Pacific war Chile kept Bolivia’ sea outlet and the southern province of Peru, both of which it would later incorporate to its territory.

In the 1970s the three countries, Chile, Bolivia and Peru were ruled by military regimes.

In another gesture of close relations the Chilean Army invited General Cueto to the August 20 ceremony to celebrate the 232 birth anniversary of Chilean national liberator Bernardo O’Higgins.

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