Work starts to clear 8 Nicosia minefields

NICOSIA (AFP) – British contractors are to start work clearing eight Greek-Cypriot minefields around the island’s divided capital today as part of an EU-funded program to facilitate freer movement across Cyprus. The minefields are among 11 laid by the National Guard in the UN-patrolled buffer zone. Another 27 are thought to have been laid by Turkish occupation forces. «De-mining will be completed in just over a year,» Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said, calling on Turkey to follow suit. Two British firms appointed by UN peacekeeping forces are to remove some 2,300 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, with 2.5 million euros of funding from the European Union. Today’s launch will be the first major move to remove the minefields that have obstructed proposals for additional crossing points across the buffer zone.