Nicosia.- Cooperation in the framework of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) should yield more results to help put an end to the humanitarian drama of the families of missing persons, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Director of the Office of the President of the Republic Panayiotis Antoniou has said.
Antoniou was speaking at the funeral of Yiannakis Liasis, in the Turkish occupied church of Ayia Triada Gialousas in the Karpas peninsula, the first time a Greek Cypriot missing person was allowed to be buried in the northern part of the island, which Turkey occupies since its troops invaded in 1974.
So far, he said a total of 404 remains of Greek Cypriot missing persons have been found and identified. Of those, 331 remains belong to missing persons who were listed as missing as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion (a list of 1619), 64 remains belong to people who were killed or died, while 9 remains belong to missing persons killed during inter-communal strife of 1963 – 1964.
CMP has also found and identified a total of 125 remains of Turkish Cypriots out of 502 missing persons reported to it. Of those, 229 concern the period of 1963 – 1964 and 273 the year of 1974. Antoniou said that at a later date 36 other cases were reported to the CMP, 2 of which concern 1974.
The numbers show that there has been good progress in recent years as regards locating and identifying missing persons, Antoniou said, adding however that there is still a lot to be done.
He spoke of the urgency of the matter, as many parents and family members are now elderly or pass away without having knowing what became of their loved ones.
The matter, he said, has been raised in meetings between the leaders of the island’s two communities in the hope that their decisions will facilitate and accelerate the work of the CMP, regardless of how the negotiations are progressing.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu agreed at a meeting they had on July 7 to jointly visit the anthropological laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons on July 24, prior to their meeting on the same day.
The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) is a bi-communal body established in 1981 by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with the participation of the United Nations.
The CMP employs a bi-communal forensic team of more than 60 Cypriot archeologists, anthropologists and geneticists, who conduct excavations throughout the island and anthropological and genetic analyses of remains at the CMP Anthropological Laboratory.