Egypt requests Czech Republic help in removing mines from Western Sahara

In a meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr asked that the Czech Republic help demine the Western Sahara, as it has special expertise in this field, stressing the promising developmental benefits of the Sahara once the mines are removed.

The Egyptian government says the countries that were fighting in the Second World War planted more than 17 million mines in the northwest coast of Egypt, which is nearly a quarter of the country's total area.

Since 1942, Egypt has been troubled with the mines that the Allies planted in city of Alamein, which witnessed combat operations with the forces of the Axis.

Britain, Germany, Italy and France planted the mines to serve as barriers, as the region has no natural barriers to use against their enemies.

According to Egyptian records, about 10,000 people were either killed or wounded by the mines, mostly children and civilians.

The mine fields also prevented agricultural development projects and exploration for oil and minerals, which could have generated millions of dollars for Egypt.

Amr also called on the Czech Airlines to resume its flights to Egypt to boost tourism and business between the two countries.

He further called for Czech investments in labor-intensive projects to create new job opportunities for Egyptian youth, pointing out that Egypt provides investors with many benefits.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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