Three hundred locations have been identified and are awaiting excavation, Greek Cypriot representative on the committee on missing persons (CMP) Leonidas Pantelides said on Wednesday.

In all, 900 cases are still open and pending, Pantelides told the CyBC, with most locations marked for excavation falling in the north, and seven crews conducting the work, with some discussion underway on increasing their number.

“There is a huge job still ahead,” Pantelides said, noting that it is natural for the cases currently being looked into to be the most difficult ones left.

The passage of time, Pantelides explained, affects the sharpness of witnesses’ memories and the march of development has altered the physical environment, making it harder to locate the remains.

“The excavations started in 2006 at which time the success rate for resolving cases was around 44 per cent, this later fell to one quarter, and has recently risen somewhat from that,” Pantelides said.

Cases are prioritised by the strength and quality of forensic data, the CMP representative explained. Those deemed to have more reliable documentation from multiple sources are tackled first.

There has been no obstruction from the Turkish Cypriot side in carrying out the work in any way, Pantelides added, saying permits are easily obtained for the bi-communal committee with some regulations imposed when digging at or near military installations.