Germany and other countries are poised to withdraw their funding for Cyprus’ committee of missing persons (CMP), Greek Cypriot member Leonidas Pantelides told the house refugee committee on Tuesday.

In statements after the session, Pantelides said that the withdrawal of country funding from CMP was because “governments have other priorities” and that Cyprus did not qualify for humanitarian aid because it was not a “poor country”.

He expressed hope, however, that these funding withdrawals would not cause a problem to the budget of the CMP.

Currently, 80 per cent of the CMP’s funding was from the EU, while the remaining 20 per cent had to be found from other sources.

CMP’s budget, he said, is over €3 million a year and the committee worked with about 100 scientists, including anthropologists, archaeologists, geneticists, researchers, geologists, and psychologists.He said that it is a programme that has won the trust of donors but that now governments have other priorities.

He said that along with Germany, there were other countries withdrawing their funding. He noted that Cyprus does not qualify for humanitarian aid because it is not a poor country.

Also speaking after the meeting, the Representative of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons of Asha village, Maria Leontiou-Georgiou said in her statements that the Republic of Cyprus should support the work of the CMP and that the €3.5 million it has contributed to CMP in the last 17 years corresponds to €137 for each missing person, which was paltry.

She also asked for the help of the government on the transfer of the bones of the 70 villagers of Asha found in the Ornithi area.

Meanwhile, during discussions the committee also examined the issue of excavations in Aloda, which the Turkish Cypriot side has been claiming, are being blocked by the Greek Cypriot side.

Pantelides said that Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s statements about excavations in Aloda were not accurate.

He believed that Tatar was attempting, instead, to exert public pressure to speed up an excavation in which they [the ‘government’ in the north] were particularly interested.

He noted that the case is on the CMP list and that everything will be done in order.

He said that the area [Aloda] there was protected and that the priority was areas that were at risk of soil erosion that would make efforts to find remains more difficult.

Commenting on the numbers of missing, he said that the remains of about 700 Greek Cypriots and 200 Turkish Cypriots had still not been found.

Pantelides said that the results for finding missing Turkish Cypriots are “significantly better” than those concerning Greek Cypriots, noting that they were not neglecting cases, “so the claim that we are obstructing any excavations is not valid.”

He said that the remains of 58-60 per cent of Turkish Cypriots listed as missing had been traced while for Greek Cypriots it was about 47 per cent.