(VELINO) Roma, 1 Jun - Thanks to UNMAS, the United Nations Mine Action Service, ...

(VELINO) Roma, 1 Jun - Thanks to UNMAS, the United Nations Mine Action Service, and also to the contribution of Italy, Sudan's Red Sea State has been declared free of anti-personnel mines and of other unexploded devices. The event was celebrated with a ceremony attended by a high-level delegation of the Government of Sudan, led by the Assistant to the President Musa Mohammed Ahmed, and including the Governor of the Red Sea State and the Federal Deputy Minister of Defence. Present at the event were also the Country Representative of UNMAS and the representatives of the embassies of Japan, Italy and India. Thanks to the support of the Sudanese government, the activities of UNMAS and the generosity of donors - including Italy - it will be possible to conclude mine clearance operations in all the Country's eastern States (therefore also in Kassala) by the end of November. This will make it possible to re-establish the fully secure and free movement of people in those areas, which are the backdrop to flows of migrants, refugees and displaced people. Moreover, the area's reconquered security conditions will improve its development opportunities and the empowerment of the most vulnerable populations. "This event marks an important step forward for Sudan along the path to honour the commitments undertaken by underwriting the Ottawa Convention. Italy, through its Development Cooperation Directorate and the Italian Embassy in Khartoum, will continue to support this commitment with a financial contribution and play a leading and constructive role in its pivotal position as Chair of the Mine Action Support Group - MASG for 2017," said Valeria Romare, the deputy Head of Mission of the Italian Embassy in Sudan, who attended the celebrations. vel