UN to complete mine clearance at Cyprus buffer zone in Feb

Officials said three of the four minefields belonged to Greek Cypriots and one was under the control of the Turkish Cypriot side.

 UN to complete mine clearance at Cyprus buffer zone in Feb

Mine clearance activities at the buffer zone in Cyprus, conducted by the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), will be completed in February.

G4S Ordnance Management, a leading organization working for environmental remediation of landmines and unexploded ordnance, has worked under the supervision of UNMACC and completed its activities at the buffer zone excluding the four minefields that have not been opened to demining process.

Officials said three of the four minefields belonged to Greek Cypriots and one was under the control of the Turkish Cypriot side.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Lisa Buttenheim, head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), called on the two communities in Cyprus to open the minefields to clearance activities.

Buttenheim said every mine that was destroyed was a new step towards normalization.

The UN official also noted that there were still 15,000 mines spread over a 2 million squaremeter area at the buffer zone.

Starting their work in 2004, teams of G4S Ordnance Management have cleared the buffer zone off nearly 27,000 mines in 6 years. 18,000 of such figure were anti-personnel and 9,000 were anti-tank mines.

The UN-administered buffer zone in Cyprus occupies three percent of the island, including some of the most valuable agricultural land. It is 180 kilometres long and varies from 3 metres to 7 kilometres in width.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) established the Mine Action Centre in Cyprus (MACC) with funding from the European Union in 2003. Preparations began for mine clearance activities in the buffer zone, supported by UNFICYP. To date, nearly 4.6 million square metres of land have been released through survey and clearance.



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Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2011, 09:41
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