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No plans to dismantle CMP, Spokesman says
2003-08-12 09:43:32

Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has dismissed Turkish Cypriot allegations that the Greek Cypriot side wishes to see a tripartite committee on missing persons in Cyprus dissolve.

''We have no intention to do away with the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP),'' Chrysostomides said, commenting on claims by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the Greek Cypriot side intends to do just that.|

The spokesman said that the Greek Cypriot side has proposed to set up a new commission for humanitarian issues, has also carried out identification of remains unearthed from two local cemeteries and is continually asking the UN Secretary General to appoint his representative to the CMP.

The CMP, comprising one representative from each of the island's two communities and a third member appointed by the UN, has been inactive in the recent past, he added.

The government of Cyprus began in the summer of 1999 a process of exhumation and identification of remains buried during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. Over 100 remains have been identified so far, many of them belonged to persons listed as missing.

The government has appealed to Turkish Cypriots to come forward to give blood for DNA testing of remains that may belong to their loved ones. Nearly 200 of them have already done so to enable forensic experts carry out identifications of remains.

Denktash has steadfastly refused to implement an agreement he signed with former President Glafcos Clerides in July 1997 to allow exhumations on both sides of the divide. He claims there are no missing Greek Cypriots, all have been killed by paramilitaries during the hostilities of 1974.

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

CNA KN/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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