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Official Says Iraq Needs Help To Clear 25 Million Unexploded Devices

Searching for mines in Al-Basrah, in southern Iraq, in 2008
BAGHDAD -- A senior official in charge of de-mining efforts at Iraq's Environment Ministry has warned that staff and other resources are insufficient to eliminate the threat to civilians posed by an estimated 25 million mines and other unexploded devices.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, Issa Rahim Dakhil added that Iraq needs international assistance to handle the problem.

Dakhil said 950 Defense Ministry employees devoted to de-mining efforts is too few to be effective in the country.

He added that Iraq, a signatory to the Ottawa Landmines Convention, is obliged under international law to remove all such unexploded devices.