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Mine Clearance in Cyprus

{youtube}F6X5LXBGBxY{/youtube} Since 2004 UNDP Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF), thanks to the support of the European Union, and in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the support of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been working to reduce the number of landmines still remaining on the island thus facilitating safer intra-island movement and communication.

At the launch of the project, 101 minefields of different size and shapes were recorded on the island. A total of 20,000 mines were declared by the two parties, including 5,000 anti-tanks mines, and 15,000 anti-personnel mines, of which 5,000 were M14 metal mines, designed not to be found. Furthermore, records showed that a total of 81 booby-trap mines were laid in 3 minefields.

Throughout the life of this project de-miners assisted in clearing mined and suspect mined areas within the UNFICYP controlled buffer zone and its adjacent areas including booby-trapped buildings, mines in deep wells and conducted numerous searches in buildings where no man had been in for over 37 years ; provided support to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) during their excavations; and to UNFICYP in marking new suspect areas and providing Mine Risk Education (MRE) to UN Peacekeepers.

As a result of these efforts, in the past seven years, over 27,000 land mines have been removed from the buffer zone, 81 minefields have been declared mine free, and 10.985,338 square meters of land have been released and returned to their original use.

Demining efforts have cleared the way for new crossings, allowing for new intra-island commercial and economic exchanges, and giving more impulse to agriculture as well as new social and cultural activities.

Much more needs to be done as there still remain an estimated over 15,000 landmines on the island, including in four mined areas in the buffer zone. The complete removal of remaining mines in Cyprus would enhance inter-communal confidence, and benefit the safety and security of all Cypriots.

The project has currently been suspended. Security Council Resolution 2026 (2011) "calls on both sides to allow access to deminers to facilitate the removal of the remaining mines in Cyprus within the buffer zone, and urges both sides to extend demining operations outside the buffer zone."

Last Updated ( Monday, 30 July 2012 )

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