UK actor Craig drops Bond killer role to see mines in Cyprus

Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:28am EDT
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NICOSIA (Reuters) - His James Bond character might blow things up and kill for a living, but actor Daniel Craig was in Cyprus on Tuesday to see first hand the perils of unexploded ordnance littering the ethnically-split island.

Craig, whose new Bond movie Spectre comes out later this month, spent two days in Cyprus as part of his U.N.-mandated role as global advocate against the use of landmines and explosives.

A 180-km (115-mile)ceasefire line slicing through Cyprus is laced with landmines, even though the United Nations have removed thousands over the years.

"I very much hope that I will be the first and last Global Advocate to see landmines on this beautiful island," the United Nations mission in Cyprus quoted Craig saying in a news release.

Craig visited an active minefield close to the ceasefire line splitting Cyprus on Monday, only recently identified by peacekeepers.

"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," Craig said.

Over the last decade United Nations de-miners have removed over 27,000 landmines from the UN buffer zone in Cyprus. A total of 74 minefields or 9.7 square kilometers of land have been cleared throughout the buffer zone.

The UN estimates that thousands of landmines still remain in Cyprus and large areas of land could still be contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance.

Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief coup by militant Greek Cypriots seeking union with Greece.

(Reporting By Michele Kambas; editing by Ralph Boulton)

British actor Daniel Craig (R), a UN advocate against use of landmines and explosives, gets a  briefing from Cambodian de-miners at an active minefield in Cyprus, October 12 2015. REUTERS/UN/Handout