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Photiou calls on Turkey to assume its responsibilities

Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou

Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Saturday that the most tragic aspect of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus 44 years ago was the issue of missing persons, and that Turkey must assume its responsibilities until the fate of each one is established.

Speaking during the funeral in Limassol of Vryonis Moniati, a soldier missing since 1974 whose remains had been identified through DNA testing, Photiou said almost half a century after the invasion most of those who went missing have not been found and Turkey continued to hinder the work of the Committee of Missing Persons.

He also noted that many of the missing persons’ relatives die without getting an answer to their questions about the fate of their loved ones.

Photiou said 850 Greek Cypriots were still missing, adding that “we will never stop our efforts to establish the fate of each and every missing person and we will never forget and get used to the occupation of our homeland, the usurpation of our ancestral homes and the violation of our rights.”

He stressed the need for unity among the political parties and reiterated that “we pursue a settlement that will abide by EU principles and values and the (EU) acquis communautaire, a settlement that will reunite our country and terminate occupation, without guarantor and intervention rights… a settlement that will safeguard human rights and the basic freedoms of all citizens and will lead the country into a new era of hope and prospect.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

A Committee on Missing Persons was established by the two communities with mandate to locate, exhume, identify and return the remains of missing persons to their relatives.

The committee’s mandate does not include investigating the cause of death.

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