Canada to restart Laos cluster bomb funding
OTTAWA - Canada is planning to answer a plea by the tiny South Asian country of Laos and restart funding to help it cope with its infestation of deadly cluster bombs.
The Canadian Press has learned that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is planning to announce a $1-million contribution, to be managed through a United Nations agency, during a trip to Laos on Tuesday.
Canada cut its funding to the international effort to help clear cluster munitions from Laos in 2012, after contributing more than $2 million between 1996 and 2011.
Laos is the country most contaminated by cluster bombs after U.S. B-52 bombers dropped two million tonnes of bombs on it over nine years, including 270 million fist-sized bomblets, an estimated 80 million of which failed to explode.
Sources say the $1 million will be split between a British-based clearance agency and a homegrown Laotian one.
It is to be administered through a United Nations Development Program trust fund.