11 December 2013 08:55

Around 1,300 tonnes of expired munitions have been shipped off the island, Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou confirmed on Monday.
Commenting on the progress of the National Guard's drive to dispose of all expired and potentially dangerous munitions, Fotiou said it was on schedule and expected to be completed within the next four years.
"This matter has been made a top priority by the new government as it concerns the safety of military personnel but also the public."
According to the minister, a Spanish firm is handling the transportation of the high and low yield munitions to Bulgaria where they are scheduled to be safely decommissioned.
"The ministry's efforts are continuing and contracts have been signed with four other companies to ensure that matters such as this can be immediately addressed in the future."
The minister added that there are still several hundred tonnes of expired ammunitions around army depots on the island.
"All these munitions will be gradually transported abroad where they will be destroyed,' said Fotiou.
"By the end of next year the second phase of the programme will be completed by the Spanish firm we are working with."
Concern over lax military safety begun in 2009 after a young lieutenant was killed when a gun grenade exploded during a routine ammunition stock check at a Nicosia army barrack.</div> <div>Fears intensified further after the 2011 Mari munitions blast which killed 13 men and injured 60 leading the authorities to inspect all munitions in army camps around the island and seriously look into destroying explosives which had expired and were possibly volatile.


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