Angola: Countries Involved in War Should Pay for Demining

Angola’s social welfare minister, Joao Baptista Kussuma, said yesterday that the countries which had been involved in Angola’s civil war — such as the USA, Russia, Cuba and South Africa — should pay for demining Angola.

“We are doing this alone when there were 11 or 12 different armies that mined our country,” he told Reuters.

His statement was somewhat misleading, given that Angola has received $19.8 million for mine action in 2007, $4.6 million of which was from the USA. In contrast, the Angola reported no contribution of its own to the mine action budget in 2007. Just a couple weeks ago, the EU promised Euro 20 million over four years for Angolan demining.  So Angola is hardly on its own.

Nonetheless, Angola still has a major mine and UXO problem, with over 200 casualties between 2005 and 2007. (For more recent information on Angola’s demining program, click here). And Kussuma brings up a valid point: Why is it that Russia and South Africa, both major contributers to the landmine crisis in Africa in the 1980s, are not stumping up cash to clear them up? 

People, including myself sometimes, like to point an accusing finger at the US for its unhelpful mine and cluster munitions policy.  But at least the US contributed nearly $70 million to mine action in 2007, more than any other country. Russia gave no such funding in 2007 and a piddly $107,000 in 2006. It’s time countries like Russia accepted their responsibility and provided compensation to countries suffering the impact of mines they exported or transfered.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 15 May 2009.

3 Responses to “Angola: Countries Involved in War Should Pay for Demining”

  1. Angola needs to be transparent. They should be bragging about how much they contribute to its own demining not although a large part in recent years has been funded by money found in a Swiss bank account allegedly tied to old UNITA and diamond money.

    Angola has over 40 accreditted commercial demining companies and 6 international NGOs. Basically the international donors fund the NGOs and the government funds the commercials, INAD and Angolan Armed Forces. However, the government provides no amount on what they spend but all indications are that it is a lot of money. As an oil producing country, Angola should be expected to spend its own money on clearing mines. The EU, the US, Canada, Germany and Norway have contributed huge amounts of money since 1994. Angola should not be shaming the world into funding mine action. It should be the reverse. The international community has been doing more than the Angola government. The trend may be going in the other direction, as it should be, but let’s not re-write history. The minister needs to get his facts right.

  2. Kassuma’s reasoning is fraught with unguided reasoning, these countries that he is accusing of mining Africa did not force themselves on these African countries,but were happily invited the warring factions in these countries. They were equally supported by these factions who were desperately in need of victory over their rivals.Today the conflict is over, mercenaries are gone, and he is calling on the states to bear the responsibility of demining their country.This should be a lesson to others who are still nursing ambitions of fighting in Africa to first weigh the consequencies before embarking on the futile journey.

  3. I am the Chair of the Third International Dialogue on Underwater and Seadumped Munitions being hosted April 13-15 in Sopot, Poland. Please feel free to check out the website at http://www.underwatermunitions.org.

    Best Regards
    Terrance P. Long

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