Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), Nestoras Nestoros, has warned that the CMP will face a “serious problem” in its task, if the number of remains, believed to belong to missing persons, continues to decline.
Speaking during an event held by the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations, in cooperation with the International Coordinating Committee – “Justice For Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the Federation of Hellenic Societies, at the Stathanion Cultural Centre, in Astoria, New York, Nestoros outlined the Committee`s task and goals, noting that “we are half way there.”
Furthermore, he briefed the audience on the recent decision by the UN Secretary General to give access to the UN archives with a view to obtaining information on possible burial sites. Nestoros stressed the need for political will so that the Committee can function properly.
Nestoros visited the US with the other two CMP members to attend the presentation of a book entitled “Beneath the Carob Trees – The Lost Lives of Cyprus”, referring to the Committee`s task.
During the event at Stathakion Centre, a 15-minute film on the missing persons issue and a video on the work done at the CMP lab, related to the remains discovered, were broadcast. Moreover photos from the excavations conducted and the discovery of remains were on display.
Nestoros said that the missing persons issue is a humanitarian one and the fact that it was addressed in political terms had an adverse impact on the efforts to establish the fate of missing persons. This, he explained, was one the reasons the issue was frozen until 2006.
He referred to the fact that remains have been relocated from the initial burial sites, adding that Turkey refuses to give any information it holds “if one speaks about war crimes.”
During the event, Nestoras responded to various questions and asked Greeks and Cypriots abroad to underline, during their meetings with US officials, that Turkey must lift all obstacles which CMP faces in fulfilling its task.