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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-09

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Haglund - Exhumations
  • [02] Clerides - Shaanxi officials

  • 1845:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Haglund - Exhumations

    Nicosia, Jun 9 (CNA) -- Not all remains found during the exhumations of 1974 war dead in the free areas of the Republic will be able to be identified, according to William Haglund, head of the team of experts, currently carrying out the exhumations.

    Haglund, a forensic anthropologist, today explained that the remains found in the Lakatamia Military Cemetery, which is the first to be dug up, are taken to a laboratory in Nicosia, where they are stored.

    He said that experts from over 15 countries will be taking part in the process of matching bones and identifying them.

    Haglund pointed out that some exhumations have taken place in the past by persons who were not professionals, and that this has "created complications".

    He said that his team is making an inventory of the bones found and that DNA tests will be carried out later on. He stressed, however, that sometimes it is not possible to get DNA samples, depending on how well preserved the bones are.

    He indicated that his team would probably conclude its task in "two or three months," but warned that "there will be no magnificent outpourings of information".

    Haglund said that Cyprus has provided the team with "probably one of the best environments to really pay attention to the details".

    Asked about the number of people's remains, Haglund said that "this is a question I can't answer right now, because of various exhumations that have been done in the past and the disarray that people were buried".

    He explained that bodies were not buried in a normal fashion, but "close together" or "lying on top of each other".

    Haglund said that "we will wait till the end and see how many people we find".

    He also said that no remains were buried in coffins or boxes of any sort, but "wrapped in blankets or in the clothing that they had".

    Asked if any clues have been found about the identity of the remains, Haglund said "some of the associated items" would indicate whether they were soldiers or civilians.

    "We are keeping track of all the belongings we know belong to a particular individual," he said, adding that they are also keeping track of the area that the remains were found in, as well as "whose name was on the crosses in 1974".

    Haglund also said that the team is looking for trauma indications, because most were probably killed in combat.

    He said that "we are not here to determine who killed who, but to identify people," adding that they would not be able to determine the exact time of death.

    Asked if some remains may have been damaged during their transportation from the Lakatamia Military Cemetery to the memorial in Makedonitissa, Haglund said "this is always a knowledge that we have when dealing with disturbed graves, we expect that, and it is a problem we anticipate".

    He said that "there may be remains of more than one person mixed up" and that is why they are double checking all the information.

    Responding to questions, Haglund said the DNA method of identification is a "relatively new hope for identification" and that the laboratory set up "gives the potential of realising that hope".

    However, Haglund stressed that "every body will not be identified", adding that the question is "what have 25 years done to the bones, that might affect getting the DNA samples".

    He said that "we will be getting that kind of information in the next months and we will find out".

    Haglund pointed out that the earth where the remains were found "is a very good environment for protecting the structure of the bone, but what it has done to the chemical structure we do not know".

    Asked what will be done if DNA samples cannot be extracted from the remains, Haglund said: "I don't even want to think about that," adding that "there are other less scientific applications that we could utilise," which he did not wish to elaborate on at the moment.

    CNA RG/MCH/1999

    [02] Clerides - Shaanxi officials

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Xian, Jun 9 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides discussed today with local leaders in the Shaanxi region, ways of developing economic and technological cooperation.

    Clerides and the delegation accompanying him met with Vice Governor of Shaanxi Provincial People's government, Jia Zhibang, Mayor of Xian, Feng Xuchu, Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Province, Hao Yanzheng, and other local officials.

    The Cyprus President thanked the Chinese officials for their support to the UN Secretary General in his efforts for a Cyprus settlement based on UN resolutions calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    The Vice Governor hosted a lunch in honour of the Cyprus delegation, followed by a performance of Tang Dynasty traditional dances and songs.

    During the performance, the actor playing the role of the Emperor offered Clerides a sword with the name of the Chinese President engraved on it.

    President Clerides leaves tomorrow for Shanghai, last stop of his state visit to China.

    CNA MA/MCH/RG/1999
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