Bolivian authorities responded favorably to Chilean plans to commence demining operations along the border between the two countries in July. Top officials say the move is a tangible step toward greater integration and cooperation between the two nations, which remain divided regarding Bolivia's demand for access to the Pacific Ocean. It may be one of the first steps toward resolving the conflict that has prevented the two countries from developing high-level political and commercial relations.
Chilean military to remove more than 4,000 mines
The demining of the Bolivia-Chile border began on July 21 with the cleanup of two minefields and 3,300 anti-personnel mines, according to Chile's Defense Ministry. Armed forces demining units will also remove and destroy 1,100 anti-tank mines, which supposedly cannot be detonated by people walking over them and are not included in the 1997 Ottawa Convention against mines, which Chile signed in 2001.
Previously, the Chilean government had ordered the partial excavation of a minefield in Tambo Quemado, where much of the work is also happening today. The government destroyed 820 mines in that clearing project in December 1999. Officials say that all minefields along the border have been fenced in and labeled with signs in accordance …