Falklands

Falklands Cleared Of Landmines Following 1982 Conflict

The islands will be officially declared landmine-free with a local event on 14 November.

The Falkland Islands have been cleared of deadly landmines laid during the 1982 conflict.

The legacy of the war with the occupying Argentine forces had meant large parts of the islands were previously off-limits.

A local event will be held on 14 November as the Falklands are officially declared landmine-free.

Islanders will mark the moment with the ceremonial detonation of the final mine and will play games of cricket and football on reopened beaches.

Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton said: "This is a huge achievement for the islands and we must pay tribute to the brilliant team of deminers who put their lives at risk day to day removing and destroying landmines to make the Falklands safe."

A UK-funded programme, carried out by a demining team from Zimbabwe, began in 2009 and has finished its dangerous mission in the South Atlantic three years ahead of schedule.

The mines' removal now means the UK has met its obligations set by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

The flag of the Falkland Islands.

It means there are no anti-personnel mines laid on British soil anywhere on the planet.

However, the UK will help to remove mines in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe, as part of a £36m programme.

Ms Morton continued: "Our commitment to ridding the world of fatal landmines does not end with our territories being mine-free.

"A further £36m of UK funding will allow demining projects across the world to continue, protecting innocent civilian lives."

On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces landed on the Falkland Islands and assumed military control, invading South Georgia Island the following day.

The UK launched Operation Corporate – tasked with regaining the British territory in the South Atlantic.

Every year, 14 June marks Liberation Day – commemorating the end of the occupation of the islands by Argentina.

It remembers the hundreds of British troops who lost their lives in the 10-week conflict.

The UK continues to have a military presence in the Falklands Islands, centred at RAF Mount Pleasant.