UN demining expert injured on divided Mediterranean island Cyprus
( dpa ) - A member of a United Nations demining team was injured during a mine sweep of the buffer zone on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus Friday, a press official said.
The member of the Mine Action Centre (MAC), a Mozambique national, was working as part of a team of six when the accident occurred in the buffer zone area of Athienou, located in the eastern part of the island.
A UN press official said the man was being treated in hospital and that his injuries were not life threatening.
The MAC has been active in the buffer zone since 2004 as part of UN efforts to encourage a return to normal conditions in Cyprus.
UN demining teams on the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus finished their mine sweep of a barricaded pedestrian street Wednesday ahead of the expected opening of the Ledras Street crossing point in the divided city for the first time in decades.
Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed to open up Ledra Street during a meeting last week.
Ledra Street, which has come to symbolize the island's division, is a busy pedestrian thoroughfare marking the dividing line between the ethnic Greek and Turkish parts of the city.
The area to be opened that will link the two sides of Ledra Street, closed since 1963, is around 75- 80 metres long and is currently considered no-man's-land and patrolled by UN peacekeepers.
It's opening, expected either April 2 or 3, has become almost a litmus test for measures to bring the two communities closer and ease the way to reunification talks.
Although the wall was torn down in recent years the street remained blocked due to a controversy over military patrols in the area.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup.
The UN-patrolled buffer zone prevented Cypriots from moving between the two sides until five crossing points opened in 2003.