The UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) announced on Monday the clearance of nine suspected hazardous areas each on both sides of the divided island, amounting to a total area of 210,882 square meters.
“The achievement of this confidence-building measure underlines the importance of dialogue, trust and co-operation for an enduring peace across Cyprus,” said Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General/Head of UNFICYP, Elizabeth Spehar. The measure was agreed upon by both community leaders on 26 February 2019 as part of their commitment towards a mine-free Cyprus.
In 2015, British actor Daniel Craig, known for his role as secret agent James Bond, visited the divided island to show his support to UN peacekeepers who had discovered a minefield near the Green Line, which separates north from south.
UN officials believe that large areas could be contaminated across the island, after clearing over 25,000 landmines from the buffer zone over the last decade.
“We are thankful for the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by both sides in speedily clearing these 18 locations while adhering to International Mine Action Standards, as checked and approved by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS),” a statement said. [Kathimerini Cyprus]