The European Commission announced on Tuesday the signing of a new agreement for the continuation of EU-financed support to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), as part of the European Union’s assistance programme to the Turkish Cypriot community for the reunification of Cyprus.

As stated, this is the 14th delegation agreement between the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme providing an addition of €2.6 million in support of the work of the CMP for 2023.

It is noted that since 2006 the European Commission has been the major donor in support of the work of CMP, with a total contribution of €35.8 million, demonstrating the strong commitment of the European Commission to peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in Cyprus.

The European Commission supports the work of bi-communal Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientific teams involved in all stages of the process as well as awareness raising activities, the statement continues, adding that these activities contribute to achieving a better understanding of mutual concerns and foster cooperation between the Cypriot communities, while CMP’s humanitarian mandate contributes to providing relief to the families of missing persons constituting a crucial aspect of the overall efforts for reconciliation in the island.

Since 2006, the remains of 1028 missing persons have been identified and returned to their families, the statement concludes.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots, who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.