New Zealand is committed to helping Colombia achieve its target of being landmine free by 2021, Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

Mr Brownlee is currently in Colombia to attend the Pacific Alliance Summit in Cali.

“New Zealand has allocated a $1 million contribution over three years to support the nation’s continued demining effort,” Mr Brownlee says.

“More than 50 years of conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the FARC) and the Colombian government has left the country heavily littered with mines, posing significant safety risks for its citizens.

“Colombia’s historic peace agreement has seen about 200 new municipalities become eligible for demining assistance but this requires a substantial increase in resources.

“New Zealand will provide $750,000 to support a two-year demining initiative with the HALO Trust Colombia.

“The funding will help expand the capacity of HALO Trust to identify safe land, map and mark minefields for future clearance in Meta, Colombia, and use New Zealand BurnSafe Thermit technology to destroy items of unexploded ordnance.

“The rest of the money will go to the United Nations, including to the UN Post-Conflict Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Colombia, which also supports demining in the South American nation,” Mr Brownlee says.

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