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Cyprus government continues demining
2005-01-07 10:33:37

Nicosia, Jan 7 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side, having cleared landmines in a specific area near the capital within the UN-controlled buffer zone, will proceed with further demining in Kaimakli, a Nicosia suburb, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here today.

He expressed hope that the Turkish side will respond to this unilateral action by the government and follow suit.

''The clearing of mines has been completed in the area southwest of Nicosia international airport (defunct since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus) and will continue in another minefield in Kaimakli area,'' he said at his daily briefing.

Responding to questions, he said there will be special announcements with regard to warnings and the safety measures taken to protect the people in the vicinity during the demining process.

In mid November, the government began unilaterally clearing of National Guard minefields within the UN-controlled buffer zone, in full support of UN policy and in accordance with the provisions of the Ottawa Convention.

An estimated 2.300 mines will be cleared from 8 minefields, belonging to the National Guard. The project is expected to be completed in just over a year and work will take place on a daily basis, at an estimated cost of 2.5 million euro, provided by the European Union.

When the demining process started Defence Minister Kyriakos Mavronicolas said the government intends to demine the length of the ceasefire line (about 180 kilometres) and expressed regret that the Turkish side was not willing to cooperate on this project.

The Turkish occupation forces have 27 minefields.

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