Navigating a minefield, surrounded by barbed wire, in-between two divided communities, this might sound like a location for James Bond, but this is Daniel Craig on a very real mission.
The Bond actor has been in Cyprus for the past two days visiting the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
He’s a UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards, and he’s chosen this as his first mission.
Cyprus became a divided island in 1974 following the arrival of Turkish forces and fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
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The UN have been trying to keep peace between the two sides for over 50 years and currently monitor a buffer zone between them across the whole island.
During the fighting, sections of land were turned into minefields. It’s thought thousands are still in place and the United Nations have been trying to clear them ever since.
Daniel Craig was appointed by the UN Secretary-General in April.
After meeting the Head of the Mission, Lisa Buttenheim and the Force Commander, Major General Kristen Lund, he toured an active minefield to see some of the slow, delicate work taking place.
Craig is no stranger to lands littered with mines. He once filmed in Cambodia and met de-miners there who are now offering their expertise in Cyprus.
“Witnessing the potential impact that mines can have on people and communities, years after the end of conflict, brings home the humanitarian importance of the UN’s de-mining efforts in Cyprus.For these peacekeepers to take their expertise, gleaned over the last forty years in Cambodia, and make it available to the people of Cyprus, half-way around the world, is truly inspiring.” he explained.
Over the last ten years the UN has removed more than 27 thousand landmines from the Cyprus Buffer Zone.
An area of more than 9 kilometres has been cleared, including over 74 minefields – but the problem is far from over.
While the peace-process on the island has faltered in the past, this mine clearance mission has support from both sides.
The Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met on Monday at the UN Good Offices in the centre of the Nicosia Buffer Zone - agreeing a bi-communal committee aimed to prepare the future Turkish Cypriot State for the European Union.
This de-mining will no-doubt aid that preparation and it's hoped Daniel Craig’s visit will give a special Bond-style boost to the ongoing mission.