OSCE, Tajikistan Defence Ministry to establish Regional Explosive Hazards Training Centre

DUSHANBE (TCA) — An agreement to establish a Regional Explosive Hazards Training Centre at Tajikistan’s Ministry of Defence was signed by Ambassador Tuula Yrjölä, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe, and Lieutenant General Sherali Mirzo, Tajikistan’s Minister of Defence, in Dushanbe on November 9.

The establishment of the Centre is envisaged as part of the Memorandum of Understanding on the OSCE extra-budgetary project “Integrated Co-operation on Explosive Hazards Programme”, which was signed on the same day. The project is part of the OSCE’s efforts in developing a co-operative mechanism among Central Asian states in addressing concerns and challenges stemming from the disposal of explosive hazards.

“The Memorandum of Understanding consolidates the partnership and co-operation efforts of the Ministry of Defence and the OSCE to establish the Regional Explosive Hazards Training Centre of the Ministry of Defence,” said Lieutenant General Mirzo. He also noted that the Ministry has a well-established reputation in providing explosive ordnance disposal and related trainings in the region.

Ambassador Yrjölä said: “The OSCE has been a steady supporter of the Government of Tajikistan, in particular the Ministry of Defence, in developing its operational, but also training capacities in Mine Action in line with international standards and best practices. Through its regional approach, the OSCE is committed to improving the explosive hazards situation in Central Asia. The Regional Explosive Hazards Training Centre of the Defence Ministry will establish the vehicle to support these efforts on the long-term and on a sustainable basis.”

With activities having started in mid-2013, this OSCE extra-budgetary project has so far provided training opportunities to more than 170 national trainers and experts in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). The courses have specialized in improvised explosive devices, the demilitarization of explosive ordnance, explosive hazards risk awareness, and response and medical support to EOD operations.

The trainees have come from Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, representing almost 20 governmental and non-governmental entities dealing with explosive hazards threats.

The project has also provided a practical platform to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices at a regional level as part of the OSCE confidence- and security-building measures.

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Times of Central Asia