MORE PROGRESS is to be made in the move to demine the United Nations buffer zone, with a €4 million contract signed by European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme towards the project.
The contract is to be funded through the reconciliation component of the financial aid package by the European Union for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community in the north.
The EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community amounts to some €259 million.
European Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement: “Demining is supported by all EU Member States and this project has been agreed with Mr [Mehmet Ali] Talat, leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
“It is an important step in reconciliation and confidence-building between the two communities on the island and is therefore most welcome.”
Five million euros have already gone into the demining project through earlier EU-funded programmes, with much of the buffer zone already be de-mined. The new contract is set to allow for the completion of the process.
The continued project is to be in line with Technical Standards and Guidelines for Cyprus and International Mine Action Standards, and carried out by the Mine Action Centre. Like past EU-funded demining operations, it will be managed by the UNDP.