Cyprus Asks Israel, Greece to Assist in Clearing Munitions Dumped Offshore

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Cyprus' defense minister says he has asked Greece and Israel for help in getting rid of a large amount of discarded army munitions that were dumped off the island nation's southern coast between 1980 and 1993.

Fotis Fotiou said Saturday that he will also seek assistance from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Fotiou said there are 167 types of munitions dumped by Cypriots including mines, hand grenades and artillery shells at the bottom of the sea, but their exact location is uncertain.

The minister said authorities will move quickly to deal with the munitions because apart from posing a danger to fishermen and the environment, they could also hamper the country's plans to develop newfound offshore gas deposits off its southern coast.

Cypriots and tourists enjoy the sea and sun at 'Nissi beach' in southeast resort of Ayia Napa, Cyprus, Sunday, June 2, 2013.Credit: AP