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Ex-foes Peru and Ecuador partner against a scourge of war: land mines

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Since the treaty was written, the situation has improved. In 1994, Afghanistan, Angola, and Cambodia led the list of severely affected countries, suffering 22,000 casualties a year. But in 2009, the rate of reported global casualties dropped to just under 4,000, according to the ICBL.

Aurora Martinez of the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining says that the cooperation between Peru and Ecuador is unusual. She says that while other countries have worked together on demining, "cooperation between Peru and Ecuador goes beyond what has been seen in other cases. The joint training will further cement this cooperation."

Peru's demining training center – where Andía has already trained 10 Ecuadorean soldiers in demining techniques – is a key element of Contraminas, which focuses on not only eliminating the border mines but also on strengthening ties with Ecuador.

A high-priority task

Espinoza said the goal is to fully integrate demining teams on both sides of the border to eliminate land mines by 2017. "We would like to have mixed teams, with Peruvians working in Ecuador and Ecuadoreans in Peru," he says.

The two militaries have exchanged maps of fields that were mined during the war and set agreements for military personnel crossing the border without diplomatic incident.

Demining is frequently a priority when politicians from the two countries meet and will be addressed during the fifth joint Peruvian-Ecuadorean Cabinet in 2012.

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