By Stefanos Evripidou
FORMER Greek Cypriot representative of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Theophilos Theophilou resigned from his post in protest at the dysfunctional state of the organisation, he said yesterday.
In a written statement, Theophilou said he submitted his resignation to the President seven months after taking on the job because of the problems faced at the CMP, which he could not disclose in detail due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The former ambassador assumed his duties on September 1, 2013, and was subsequently replaced earlier this month by Nestoras Nestoros following his resignation.
Theophilou was also the first representative of the Greek Cypriot community in the CMP when it was first set up in 1981.
In his statement, Theophilou said he would not have resigned had certain conditions been met, such as: demands for the improvement of the functioning of his office; an understanding of the tremendous difficulties faced; avoiding further burdens and unfounded criticism; changing procedures and practices concerning the operation and mission of the CMP; political will from all parties; and the prospect of completing the CMP’s mission within a timeframe acceptable by the relatives of the missing persons.
“My resignation is also an expression of protest for the dysfunctional situation regarding the investigation and determination of the fate of missing persons,” he said, noting that he was not in a position to elaborate further in public.
He also accused some people of trying to undermine the Cyprus Republic, “using the CMP to promote political pursuits”.
According to sources, one of Theophilou’s complaints related to the lack of personnel at the CMP.
Theophilou said he hopes his resignation will contribute to improving the situation, and wishes his successor patience, endurance and strength.
The government responded via deputy spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos last night, expressing its thanks to Theophilou for his work, and noting that he submitted his resignation “for personal reasons” in early March.
“The government attaches great importance to the work and services of the CMP and will continue to offer maximum support to the efforts of the Office of the Greek Cypriot Representative,” said Papadopoulos.
Determining the fate of the missing remains a top priority for the president, he added.
The CMP is composed of a member appointed by each of the two communities and a third member, selected by the International Committee of the Red Cross and appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Decisions are taken by consensus. The chair is rotated monthly.