By Constantinos Psillides
THE NEW Greek Cypriot member of the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) officially took up his post on Monday with a pledge to overcome the many obstacles the committee still faces.
Nestoras Nestoros, who was appointed by President Nicos Anastasiades to replace long-time member Theophilos Theophilou, said it was an honour to be appointed to the CMP but that there were many difficulties to overcome.
“The committee’s work is extremely complex and it won’t be easy to cope but we have to surpass every obstacle,” Nestoros told a press conference.
CMP members thanked Theophilou for his service, noting that during his tenure the CMP had achieved its best performance to date.
“With 140 identified missing persons returned to their families and an unprecedented €2.5 million in donor funding, 2013 was the most successful year for the CMP. The committee is looking forward to work with Mr Nestoros in order to build on these achievements,” they said.
The committee also announced an open invitation for a major public event scheduled for April 12 from 10am until 4pm in the garden of the Goethe-Institut in the UN buffer zone in Nicosia. The public will have a chance to meet with the 60 young CMP scientists and to learn more about the committee’s work.
Large photos installations will illustrate every stage of CMP’s work, from investigations, excavation of burial sites, exhumation and analysis of human remains, to the identification and return of missing persons to their families. CMP scientists will deliver presentations in Greek and in Turkish to explain each stage of the work in detail and answer questions from the audience.
Although it was officially announced that Theophilou was resigning for personal reasons last month, the former Greek Cypriot representative said in a public statement that he quit his post in protest at the dysfunctional state of the organisation.
In his statement, Theophilou said he would not have resigned had certain conditions been met, such as the improved functioning of his office; an understanding of the tremendous difficulties faced; a change to the procedures and practices concerning the operation and mission of the CMP and the prospect of completing the CMP’s mission within a timeframe acceptable to the relatives of the missing persons.