The visit of HALO’s 25th Anniversary Photographic Exhibition to Kosovo’s National Museum was marked with on opening reception on 23rd January.
Speaking at the opening, Ambassador Krystyna Marty Lang of Switzerland, a long-standing donor of HALO in Kosovo, said that is “alarming” that the recent joint survey conducted by HALO and the Kosovo Mine Action Centre has identified 130 minefields and cluster munition strikes remaining in Kosovo. She commented that “with the current low intensity and speed” of clearance it will take ten more years before Kosovo is “truly free from the effects of mines and cluster munitions.”
HALO’s Director, Guy Willoughby thanked the Government of Kosovo, HALO’s donors, and HALO’s dedicated staff for making possible HALO’s successes in Kosovo. He then challenged everyone with an interest in Kosovo to aim for a Kosovo free of mines by December 2017, so reducing the clearance time from another 10 years to four.
Responding to this Mr Agim Çeku, Minister for the Kosovo Security Force said that this target was currently “optimistic” but it could be achieved if the international community were to step in with additional funding. Mr Çeku then presented HALO with a Letter of Appreciation for its 14 years of clearance in Kosovo.
M. Pascal Gregoire, Head of Mission of the Belgian Diplomatic Office, also spoke at the opening – The Kingdom of Belgium has been HALO’s other major donor in Kosovo in recent years.