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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-07-21

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    A broad meeting took place Tuesday at the Presidential Palace on the humanitarian issue of missing persons, during which it has been decided that procedures in the framework of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Project on the Exhumation, Identification and Return of Remains of Missing Persons in Cyprus should be speed up.

    In statements after a meeting at the Presidential Palace under Cyprus President Demetris Christofias with the participation of relatives of missing persons living in Cyprus, Greece and the UK and competent authorities, President of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons Nicos Theodosiou said that President Christofias assured of the governments interest and his own in the issue of missing persons, while representatives of the Foreign Ministry, CMP and relatives of missing persons expressed their views.

    He said the aim of the meeting was to look into all that has been done so far with a view to ascertain the fate of missing persons and determine further steps.

    Theodosiou noted that during the meeting two decisions were taken; the first one is that exhumations and identification of remains are part of the process and a way must be found to have substantive investigations, because relatives have the right to know the truth.

    ``You cannot just deliver the remains to the family without any answers to major questions about their fate, he added.

    He said that the second important issue is the decision that procedures must be accelerated. We are concerned by the pace in which identifications and the delivery of the remains are taking place, he said, adding however that the programme of exhumations and identifications must remain reliable and maintain its quality.

    There are various other ways by which we can have better and faster results, he added. Theodosiou said that present at the meeting were representatives of the scientists who undertake the task of identifications and that certain decisions were taken with a view to have faster results.

    Theodosiou said that so far 86 Greek Cypriots have been identified through the CMP project and other 51 persons have been identified through this programme at the government-controlled areas.

    Theodosiou said that at the beginning there were two teams which conducted the investigations one in the Turkish occupied areas of the island and one in the government-controlled areas, whereas now there are two in the government-controlled areas and five in the occupied areas.

    Invited to comment on a statement by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the past about exhumations at military areas, Theodosiou said they are trying to see how this issue is evolving but expressed the concern of the Committee for the stance of the Turkish army, noting that if it does not cooperate on information issues ``more than half of the missing persons may continue to be missing for ever``.

    We must all work towards this direction to press on Turkey to cooperate as the Council of Europe Permanent Representatives Committee has called her to do, with a view to give access to the archives of the Turkish army and the Turkish prisons, he added.

    Theodosiou said that so far the Turkish army has given no information on issues concerning the missing persons.

    Asked how the Council of Europe can put pressure on Turkey to comply with its obligations, Theodosiou recalled that the Council of Europe Permanent Representatives Committee has issued two interim resolutions calling on Ankara to fulfill the European Court of Human Rights decision in the framework of the Fourth Intestate Application of Cyprus against Turkey of 2001, adding that there are also sanctions for which work is needed so that they are implemented.

    There are sanctions that can be implemented against Turkey but I think that we are far from such a movement by the Permanent Representatives Committee. Much work is needed at the political and at the diplomatic level, he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    Since July 2007 the CMP began returning remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot individuals to their families.

    The primary objective of this project is to enable relatives of missing persons to recover the remains of their loved ones, arrange for a proper burial and close a long period of anguish and uncertainty. Most Cypriot families have been directly or indirectly affected and it is hoped that the healing of old wounds will in turn favour the overall process of reconciliation between both communities. To this end, the project is of a bi-communal nature with teams of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientists involved at every stage of the exhumation and identification processes.

    The project includes an Archaeological Phase (Phase I), related to the exhumation of the remains of missing persons, an Anthropological Phase (Phase II), related to the analysis of the recovered remains in the CMP anthropological laboratory, and a Genetic Phase (Phase III), related to the DNA identification process. Lastly, the Return of Remains (Phase IV) aims to help the families of both communities cope with the difficult task of coming to terms with their loss.


    President Demetris Christofias signed on Tuesday the book of condolences opened by the Iranian embassy in Nicosia for the crash of an airplane of Iran`s Caspian Airlines, killing all 168 persons on board.

    ``On behalf of the government and the people of Cyprus I wish to extend my sincere condolences for the air tragedy of last Wednesday which caused the loss of so many human lives,`` President Christofias wrote in the book and added ``at this moment of mourning, I express my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims as well as the government and the friendly people of Iran.``

    In statements after the signing of the book, Christofias said «when a people and especially a people of a friendly country is subject to losses such as the losses the people of Iran suffered with the air accident it is natural we at the highest level to express our sympathy our condolences and our solidarity.``


    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias expressed on Tuesday hope that the current talks in Cyprus would lead to the reunification of the country where the two communities would live peacefully together.

    Receiving a delegation of Municipalities displaced after the 1974 Turkish invasion and a dance group of University of Cyprus Students Association, Papoulias expressed hope the negotiations underway which are becoming ``more difficult`` to reach at some point the desired outcome, the reunification of Cyprus, where the two communities will live peacefully.


    British Cypriots and politicians from across Britains political spectrum on Monday condemned Turkeys intransigence over efforts to end its continuing illegal military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was petitioned by the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK to use the UKs influence over the Turkish Government in order to persuade Turkey to withdraw its occupation troops and play an active and positive role in current efforts to reunite Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots.

    A demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in London and the delivery of a letter of protest to the Turkish Ambassador was followed by a march through central London, the delivery of the petition in Downing Street and a mass rally in Trafalgar Square.

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