Taiwanese officials announced Tuesday the contribution of $1 million and 20 sets of de-mining equipment to the U.S.-led global coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“Taiwan is a proud member of the coalition, and on behalf of my government, I’m so extremely pleased to announce today a one million contribution to finance the de-mining operations in areas recently liberated from ISIS in Syria,” said Taiwanese Ambassador Stanley Kao at a ceremony at the United States Institute for Peace, Washington.
He said Taiwan was also providing 20 sets of de-mining equipment to assist with similar efforts in Iraq.
Although the U.S.-led military coalition against ISIS has liberated 98 percent of territory in Iraq and Syria once held by the terrorist group, Islamic State has heavily mined some of that territory with explosives, making it difficult for families and residents to return.
De-mining those areas has been slow and arduous, particularly in Syria where there is a small U.S. military footprint. The U.S. has brought in civilian contractors to help de-mine areas, and Taiwan’s contribution will help fund those efforts.
Kao said the contribution “once again reaffirms Taiwan’s unwavering commitment as a strong and reliable partner.” Taiwan and non-governmental organizations have already contributed more than $23 million of cash and humanitarian assistance to the anti-Islamic State coalition since 2013.
That has included 350 pre-fabricated housing units and a mobile hospital to Iraq, to shelter and care for internally displaced men, women and children.
John Norris, managing director for the American Institute in Taiwan — the U.S.’s unofficial embassy, praised Taiwan for its contributions.
“Taiwan has played a critical role in providing vital humanitarian and stabilization assistance in both Iraq and Syria,” Norris said. “This event further highlights the significant contributions Taiwan has made to the international community…as well as the deep friendship and commitment the United States and Taiwan share in working with partners around the world to address issues of global concern.”
Deputy Special Presidential Envoy to the President for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Terry Wolff said the U.S. was “grateful” for Taiwan’s contribution.
Wolff said there was much stabilization work going on in liberated parts of Syria for residents to go back home, including clearing mines, clearing rubble, restoring electricity, and delivering water.
Taiwan joined the 77-member Global Coalition to Counter ISIS in October 2014, shortly after the U.S. began military operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Five organizations are also part of the coalition, including Interpol and NATO.