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Cyprus

Photiou discusses missing persons issue with senior UN official

File photo: CMP team at work searching for remains

The missing persons issue was the main point of discussion at a meeting Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou had with United Nations Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix in New York.

Photiou, who is in the US representing the government at the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations meeting, told Lacroix that Turkey should stop raising obstacles to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) so it can continue its work unimpeded.

Lacroix, he said, showed understanding, adding that their meeting was constructive. He also said the two discussed the Cyprus problem and he briefed Lacroix on the dinner President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had earlier this month.

Photiou said he conveyed the concerns of the Greek Cypriot side over the limited results that the CMP has achieved in locating Greek Cypriot missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion, due to Turkey’s stance.

Ankara, he said refuses to cooperate and that it must be persuaded that the missing persons issue is not political but humanitarian, and that if progress were to be achieved on this issue, it would help boost confidence between the island`s two communities.

The commissioner said that Turkey should allow access to the Turkish army archives and give permission for exhumations to take place where there are mass graves. “It is inhuman to give relatives of the missing two to three pieces of remains for burial,” he remarked.

Photiou thanked Lacroix for UNFICYP’s work regarding the enclaved. He said the most important issue schools face in the north are the obstacles raised in appointing teachers and in the distribution of history and religious studies books.

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