THE humanitarian issue of missing persons is one of the most painful chapters in the history of Cyprus and its resolution is of the highest priority, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday in his message to mark the Missing Persons Day.
Missing Persons Day, the president said, “is a day of remembrance, honour, and responsibility”. The Republic set October 29 as the Missing Persons Day as the same day in 1974 was the last war prisoners were released following Turkey’s invasion.
“As a government, we support and will continue to support, in all possible ways, the work of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) and make every possible effort to make their efforts effective,” the president said.
Unfortunately, he said, a very large number of Greek Cypriots are still missing since the invasion but also since the 1963 – 1967 period of the bicommunal troubles.
“Time remains the worst enemy in efforts to investigate and verify the fate of missing persons, but also for the relatives of missing persons, as one by one they pass away without finding out what happened to their loved ones,” the president said. “On this occasion, I call, once again, if anyone knows any information about possible missing burial sites, to share this information with the CMP without hesitation”.
He added that the problem of missing persons cannot be resolved without the effective and efficient cooperation of Turkey.
“In order for the investigation programme and exhumations to advance, Turkey should contribute actively to the work of the CMP and to provide the necessary assistance… such as the location of mass burial sites through the provision of information and data from the files of the Turkish army, but also information concerning the deliberate movements of remains from the original burial sites”.
This day, he said, requires more than ever that, “we must continue the ongoing struggle to shed light on the fate of all missing persons and the reunification of our country”.
“We strive to convince at every level for the need to ensure peace in Cyprus without the presence of foreign troops and guarantees from third countries. Hopefully Turkey will respond to our goodwill realising that the solution of the Cyprus problem would benefit all,” the president said.