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Colombia granted extension of landmine removal deadline

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BOGOTA (Reuters) - The Ottawa Convention has granted Colombia a more than four-year extension of its deadline to remove landmines throughout the country, the High Peace Commissioner’s office said on Friday.

The Andean country requested the extension earlier this week to give it more time to finish de-mining operations. It will have until the end of 2025 to complete removals.

Colombia was once among countries with the most injuries from landmines, a result of more than five decades of ongoing armed conflict between leftist guerrillas, crime gangs, right-wing paramilitary groups and the government.

“The government of President Ivan Duque will continue to demand that illegal armed groups cease the criminal act of installing anti-personnel mines,” High Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos said in a statement marking the extension.

The Ottawa Treaty, adopted at a 1997 convention in the Canadian city, forbids the manufacture, storage and use of landmines.

Colombia and more than 160 other countries are signatories. Extensions of removal targets must be approved by other signatories.

More than half of Colombia’s 1,122 municipalities once had landmines, but 407 of those have been declared free from the devices, the commissioner’s office said.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Dan Grebler