Friday, 12 June 2015

Cyprus: Missing persons a Confidence Building Measure

It is thought that the issue of missing persons in Cyprus could be solved through the new momentum in the negotiating process of the Cyprus problem.

Nicosia and Washington think the missing persons issue could be a Confidence Building Measure for the island.

This is the common position outlined by Cyprus’ Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots, Fotis Fotiou, and the Director of Europe Division in the Department of Political Affairs of the UN, Elizabeth Spehar.

Fotiou and Spehar held a meeting in Washington on Wednesday, during which the Cypriot Commissioner briefed the UN official on the latest developments.

Fotiou raised the issue of missing persons and stressed that as a primarily humanitarian and not political issue it would be an important Confidence Building Measure, the resolution of which would have beneficial effects on a social and political level.

Fotiou expressed the determination and will of the Cypriot government to resolve the issue of missing persons. It is expected that the Turkish side will show the same will and the same sincere effort, he said.

Fotiou concluded his visit to the USA, where he represented President Nicos Anastasiades at the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee, with meetings in New York with the Greek Community and UN officials.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Cypriot Commissioner had a meeting with the board of the Cyprus-US Chamber and participated in a roundtable discussion on “Cypriot Diaspora and the role of the new generation”, organized by the youth of the Cyprus Federation.

Various issues concerning the Cypriot community of America were discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the Presidential Commissioner with the board of the Cyprus Federation, in the presence of PSEKA President Philip Christopher.

Fotiou, accompanied by the Consul General Vasilis Philippou, met with the Archbishop Demetrios of America. Speaking after the meeting, Fotiou said he briefed Archbishop Demetrios on the positive developments in Cyprus after the election of Moustafa Akinci in the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community.

“However, we should wait to see how the discussion proceeds in the difficult issues of the Cyprus problem and how Turkey will react and behave”, he said and added that from his contacts in the US, he ascertained that everybody wishes for progress.

As a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion against Cyprus, 1,619 Greek Cypriots were listed as missing, most of whom soldiers or reservists, who were captured in the battlefield. Many of those missing were last seen alive in the hands of the Turkish military. A further 41 more cases of Greek Cypriot missing persons have been added. These cases concern the period between 1963-1964, when inter-communal fighting broke out but none of them has been identified yet.

The number of Turkish Cypriot missing since 1974 and 1963/64 stood at 503. A total of 1073 remains have been exhumed by the CMP, 546 of which have been identified with the DNA method (421 Greek Cypriots and 125 Turkish Cypriots). Only 27% of all missing persons have been identified so far.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks are currently underway between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.

Friday 12 June 2015


Post a Comment