President Christofias Expresses Hope in Identifying All remains of Missing Persons in 2009
Nicosia, Dec 29 - President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias expressed hope on Monday that all remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons would be identified in 2009, noting that this was owed to the families of missing persons from both communities.
Speaking after a visit to the laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), President Christofias said that the procedure carried out at the laboratory was “a positive and important step to ease, to the extent possible, the ordeal of the families,” noting that what is left is to determine the causes.
President Christofias, who was accompanied by Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou, met with Greek Cypriot member of the CMP Elias Georgiades and the third member Christof Jirod. Turkish Cypriot member Gulden Plumer Kutsuk is abroad.
The President thanked the three members of the CMP, as well as the scientific and other staff of the laboratory, and praised them for their strength to carry out their mission. He also expressed gratitude to the chief of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
President Christofias assured that the government would continue to contribute to the work of the CMP and has donated an additional sum of 150,000 euros on Tuesday.
He expressed hope for the reconciliation of the two communities and for a functional and viable solution based on the principles of a bizonal bicommunal federation, which would serve the interests of all Cypriots.
To a remark that investigations into the fate of missing persons should be extended to Turkish archives, since many prisoners were taken there, President Christofias said “this is the demand and the effort but it is not simple.”
Mr. Jirod thanked President Christofias for visiting the laboratory, noting that the visit proves his support to the work of the CMP.
He added that remains believed to belong to 466 persons have been exhumed and that so far 110 have been identified and returned to their families.
New results are expected in the next few days and the remains of the identified remains will be returned to their families next month, Mr. Jirod noted.
Referring to the opening of the crossing point of Limnitis, President Christofias said that the opening of Limnitis had not been absolutely linked to the opening of Ledra Street.
“We linked it in the sense that we agreed for Ledra Street to open, we agreed that Limnitis and another crossing point would open. The fact that the other side is paltering is not our responsibility. That side is exposed,” he noted.
Commenting on the fact that the Republican Turkish Party in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus intends to call early “elections”, President Christofias said it is obvious that the Turkish Cypriots are facing problems, especially regarding the power of the various political parties.
Asked if this development would affect direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, President Christofias expressed hope that it would not.