Photograph: HINA / ds

Vukovar County is free of land mines, it was said in the eastern municipality of Nijemci on Thursday, at the closing news conference on a project for the removal of mines in the flood-hit areas of Vukovar County under the IPA 2011 programme, which marked the end of demining efforts in the eastern municipalities of Nijemci and Vrbanja.

As part of the project, 791,753 square metres of forest land near Nijemci and Vrbanja were cleared of mines and a total of 420 explosive devices were removed.

"This was a very important project for us because we want our economy to make progress, notably the tourism sector, and that sector and mines do not go together," Nijemci municipal head Ivica Klem said.

Vukovar County head Bozo Galic said the project had created conditions for agricultural revival and for the development and reconstruction of the irrigation and flood-prevention systems.

Mine Action Centre head Drazen Jakopec said that the project marked the end of mine removal activities in that eastern Slavonian county and that it was now completely free of mines.  

Jakopec noted that slightly more than 490 square kilometres of land in ten counties remained possibly mine-infested.

The mine removal project in Nijemci municipality cost EUR 767,059, with the EU's contribution amounting to EUR 652,000. The Croatian government provided the remaining sum. In more than 500 projects, 127 square kilometres of potentially mine-infested land in Vukovar County were cleared of mines. Those projects cost around HRK 750 million (approx. EUR 100 million), of which half came from the state budget.

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