President Nikos Christodoulides on Monday said that the government is approaching the missing persons’ issue with urgency, claiming “time is running out.”

Christodoulides’ statements came after a meeting with the president of the Pancyprian Organisation of the Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons Nicos Sergides and the President of the Panhellenic Committee on Missing Persons Maria Kalbourtzi.

“It is not possible 49 years after the Turkish invasion of 1974, to have persons whose relatives do not know their fate,” Christodoulides said as quoted by government spokesperson Constantinos Letymbiotis, who added that the President “understands and embraces the concerns of the missing persons’ relatives and instructed officials speed up and encourage more efforts towards resolving the issue.”

Kalbourtzi said the meeting was of informative nature. She and Sergides then briefed the President on the latest meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that they attended in Strasbourg, where they discussed organisational and planning issues related to the upcoming initiatives of the two Cypriot organisations.

“Such a humanitarian crisis cannot continue for 50 years,” Kalbourtzi said, adding that hers and Sergides’ current efforts are orientated towards bringing up the missing persons’ issue outside Cyprus and Greece.

Addreesing the President after Kalbourtzi, Sergides agreed that the issue should become more relevant both in Cyprus and abroad.

Responding to both, the President agreed that time is running out and that the missing persons’ issue needs to be properly addressed as soon as possible.