Civil war mines to be cleared

Officials in northern Greece have started a program to clear the mountains of Grammos and Vitsi of land mines and other explosives that have been buried in the area for some 60 years, sources said yesterday. The Regional Authority of Western Macedonia has secured 4.4 million euros in state funding for the project, which will allow people to enjoy areas of natural beauty which have been sealed off since the Greek Civil War in the 1940s. «A huge number of buried mines, grenades, ammunition and all sorts of explosives have been left in areas of Western Macedonia and Epirus,» said the regional authority’s general secretary Andreas Leoudis. «Thousands of hectares of natural beauty have been cut off and remain undeveloped.» Officials will assess next month the tenders they have received for the project, which will be conducted with the help of the Defense Ministry and is due to be completed by 2010. So far, efforts by the army to demine the area, near the border with Albania, have proved ineffective.