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Turkish intention to lift minefields positive, Cyprus government says
2004-11-19 09:51:51

Limassol, Nov 19 (CNA) -- Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chysostomides has described the Turkish occupation regime's expressed intention to destroy its minefields in the buffer zone accross Cyprus as a "positive step".

Commenting on a statement by so-called prime minister in the Turkish occupied areas Mehmet Ali Talat, that the illegal regime intends to proceed with the destruction of its minefields in the buffer zone, Chrysostomides told the press here today that if the Turkish occupation forces decided to go ahead with the de-mining process, ''this would be a good development, which could contribute to reducing tension, as was the government's purpose.''

Chrysostomides recalled that the Republic of Cyprus had suggested through the United Nations a joint effort for de-mining but proceeded unilaterally with the destruction of its minefields in the buffer zone, due to the occupation forces' negative stance.

Yesterday, the government of the Republic of Cyprus began lifting its minefields in the buffer zone. The de-mining process is funded by the European Union and is supported by the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

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