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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 17:44 GMT
Falklands mine removal 'possible'
Sign warning of a minefield on the Falkland Islands
Mines are scattered across the islands
The government is considering ways of clearing about 20,000 mines left on the Falklands Islands after the war with Argentina in 1982.

Baroness Crawley told the House of Lords negotiations with the Argentines revealed that clearance would be "challenging but technically possible".

She said since the end of the war, the landmines had been marked, fenced off, and had caused no civilian casualties.

Tory peer Lord Howell said 18,000 of the mines had been left by Argentina.

Lady Crawley, speaking for the government at Lords question time, said negotiations had been "detailed, complex and extensive".

"However we have got to a place now where hopefully we will be looking very seriously at the next steps," she said.

'Expensive'

Lady Crawley said a feasibility study had been completed in October last year and although Argentina had been involved in compiling it, the country would not be involved in the clearance work.

The process would be "expensive" although a budget had not yet been finalised, she said.

The study would be put in front of ministers shortly, she added.

Lord Howell of Guildford said of the 20,000 landmines scattered around the Falklands, 18,000 of them were put there by the Argentines "often by recruits who have no idea where they are now, or by remote devices".

SEE ALSO
In pictures: Falklands commemorations
17 Jun 07 |  In Pictures
Argentina vows Falklands return
14 Jun 07 |  Americas
Regions and territories: Falkland Islands
06 Dec 07 |  Country profiles
Falklands war timeline
27 Mar 07 |  UK

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