Sommaire: August 6, 2004: Commission releases funds for de-mining in Cyprus (Brussels)
The European Commission this week released €2.5 million in funds for de-mining in Cyprus. The de-mining operations will first focus on the area of the buffer zone in and around Nicosia. These funds will help to underpin the Green Line policy as regards free movement of persons and goods. New crossing points could be opened after mine clearing has taken place. A Mine Action Cell will be formally established in the United Nations Protected Area (UNPA) in Nicosia.
The financial assistance will be channelled via the EU-funded UNDP/UNOPS programme 'Partnership for the Future' in cooperation with UNFICYP. The de-mining operations will be carried out by international de-mining firms/NGOs with proven experience in mine clearance and related activities with the United Nations.
The tendering procedures to identify a firm/NGO to carry out the work have been launched.
There are a large number of mined, suspect mined and booby-trapped areas on the island, both within the buffer zone and outside. Many are less than 1,000 metres from the buffer zone, an area that still falls under UNFICYP monitoring. The mined areas are a threat for the population living nearby. Farmland adjacent to the mined areas is in most cases cultivated to within 2 metres of the minefield perimeter fence. There are reports of livestock losses due to mine accidents; the last human casualty occurred in April this year.