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Resumption of new effort for a Cyprus settlement a priority, minister says

health minister anna procopiou
Justice Minister Anna Procopiou

The resumption of a new effort for a Cyprus settlement has been set as a priority by the Government of Nikos Christodoulides, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, Anna Koukkides Prokopiou, said.

Prokopiou was speaking on Sunday morning at an annual memorial service, at Kalopanayiotis village in Nicosia district, for those who fell during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

The Minister noted that President Christodoulides “with specific initiatives has requested the appointment of envoys from both the Secretary General of the United Nations and the European Union.”

“The Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly expressed its intention to sit down at the negotiating table despite the continuous provocative statements from the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides for a two-state solution, which can never be accepted from our side,” Prokopiou underlined.

“Despite the objective difficulties stemming from the attitude of the Turkish side, we nevertheless have the obligation to continue the effort to find a solution that will ensure human rights, the European acquis as well as the termination of the unacceptable and anachronistic system of guarantees”, the Minister of Justice pointed out.

So far, repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have failed to yield results since Turkey invaded and occupied the northern part of the island in 1974. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

The issue of the people who went missing during the Turkish invasion was also in focus on Sunday, with the Head of Humanitarian Affairs for the Missing Persons and the Enclaved, Anna Aristotelous saying “it is our duty to continue the struggle to locate all the persons that went missing”.

In her eulogy at the funeral of Yiannakis Charalambous, who fell during the Turkish invasion of 1974, she said that his remains were identified with the DNA method.

Charalambous was one of the patients at the Athalassa mental hospital, which she said, Turkish warplanes bombarded “without any hesitation…spreading havoc, pain and destruction.”

One of the bombs, she said, hit a central ward and killed 33 people, among them 29 year old Yiannakis.

They were buried casually, she added, in the craters created by the bombings, without any proper ceremony. But a few years ago the exact site of their burial was located, and his remains were identified with the DNA method.

Referring to the relatives of the missing, Aristotelous stressed that “it is the state’s duty not to forget and its obligation to continue the struggle to locate all our missing persons.”

“And that is exactly what we do. Revealing the truth is the inalienable right of the relatives and the only consolation,” she said.

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