(Quito) – As part of its commitment to promote initiatives in the area of disarmament, on December 7, the Armed Forces of Ecuador, with technical assistance from UNLIREC, destroyed 11,721 munitions decommissioned by the Army. The destruction took place in the east of Quito, in facilities provided by Santa Barbara.

Previously, the Deputy-Defense Minister, Rosa Pérez, had officially received the tank which was used in the destruction ceremony and which, according to her, “was built according to high-level technical specifications approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations and which is starting to be implemented in other countries, Ecuador being the first nation in South America to have equipment of this nature”.

The tank can destroy up to one tonne of small caliber ammunition in each session and it does not exert a negative impact on the environment whatsoever, as the waste can be recycled. The Ecuadorian authorities expressed interest in building more tanks with the same characteristics so that they can be distributed across the country, thus allowing for improved management of ammunition destruction.

Following the destruction of ammunition, a seminar on stockpile management was held at the Ministry of Defense, as part of the procedure of certification and compliance with the United Nations’ international technical rules. According to the Deputy Minister, this training “seeks to strengthen the knowledge already possessed by the Armed Forces personnel in the field of destruction of ammunition and, at the same time, generate appropriate measures that guarantee security and the proper handling of firearms, ammunition and explosives in Ecuador”.

The Canadian ambassador in Ecuador, Andrew Shisko, emphasized that “this course is an example of the importance of security for the region”. The training provided by the Government and UNLIREC contributes to the “improvement of the security of all citizens of Ecuador”. The Andean Project advisor of UNLIREC’s Public Security Programme, Camilo Duplat, stated that “the destruction of stockpiles is essential to prevent seized weapons, ammunition and explosives from being diverted into illegal activities. It is a means of contributing to the destruction of surplus weapons and to the prevention of accidents”. These activities form part of UNLIREC’s comprehensive assistance package to the States of the Andean Community, with the support of the Government of Canada.