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Missing persons issue a humanitarian not political one, Photiou says

April 9, 2019 at 9:48am

The matter of the missing persons in Cyprus is a humanitarian one and not a political one Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou has said, noting that Turkey, who occupies Cyprus’ northern third, plays political games.

Photiou was addressing a press conference to mark the 34th Marathon of Love for the Missing, yesterday, in Nicosia. According to data presented by Rea Georgiou, Cyprus` Accountant General and in charge of the Fund’s proceeds, the Fund has €37,000. The total sum of payments since 1984 reached €1.17 million of which €1 million had to do with assistance given to beneficiaries and €171,000 with expenditure for missions abroad to raise awareness.

The missing persons issue is a humanitarian one, not a political one, Photiou said and added that the Turkish occupying power is playing games with the issue of our missing persons.

The Presidential Commissioner said that this period is very bad as far as results of the effort to locate remains of Greek Cypriot and Greek missing persons are concerned. “2018 was the worst year as the remains of only 10 missing persons were located,” he noted.

Time, he stressed, “is the greatest enemy in the missing persons issue since the mothers, fathers and siblings pass away without having the opportunity to hold a funeral for their loved ones in accordance with our religious custom.”

He reiterated his call on anyone “who knows, has information, has heard something about mass graves, about the fate of missing persons to come forward.”

Photiou also informed that the Cabinet has recently discussed a specific action plan for the missing persons issue which will involve the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his own office, the relatives of missing persons, organized groups the Greek Cypriot member of CMP and all political parties.

Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, who also heads the Pancyprian Fund of the Marathon of Love for the Missing, said that unfortunately Turkey, whom we urge every year to open its records because it is very well aware where the remains of our missing persons are located continues to be merciless.

“Relatives of missing persons, have the inalienable right to hold a funeral for them, to say goodbye and to be at peace,” he noted, adding that unfortunately close relatives have passed away while this humanitarian issue remains unresolved. He pledged that the Church of Cyprus will not tire in its effort to find out what happened to every missing person in Cyprus.

In a written address, President of the parliamentary committee of refugees, enclaved and missing persons Skevi Koukouma spoke of a difficult period in the effort to resolve the Cyprus problem since the lack of ongoing negotiations for a long time perpetuates dangerously the invasion’s and continued occupation’s fait accomplish. Turkey’s intransigence and the fact that it continues not to give the necessary information about the location of graves constitute until today the greatest and most substantial obstacle in the missing persons’ program to go ahead in an effective and quick way.

The Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Nicos Theodosiou also said that 2018 was the most difficult year as regards findings and added that despite problems the CMP will cooperate and coordinate with all actors involved in order to overcome obstacles and improve results through the action plan the Presidential Commissioner referred to.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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CMP: “We are running out of time for the missing persons”