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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-02

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] State Department says agreement on missing positive
  • [02] US report on missing Americans finalised

  • 1000:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] State Department says agreement on missing positive

    Washington, Aug 2 (CNA) -- The US State Department described an agreement between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, to determine the fate of missing persons as a positive and important step.

    A State Department spokesman told CNA "the agreement by the leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities to return remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot persons missing since the 1974 conflict as a positive and important step."

    The spokesman expressed State Department congratulations to "the UN for its role in facilitating progress between the parties", as well as to the leaders of the two communities "for moving to resolve this humanitarian issue".

    In response to Denktash's threat not to participate in the second round of UN-led direct talks, scheduled to take place in Switzerland, August 11 to 16, the spokesman expressed the hope that both parties will accept the UN invitation to resume direct talks.

    "Mr. Clerides has already stated that he will attend. We understand that Mr. Denktash will state his intentions on Monday", said the US State Department spokesman.

    CNA DA/KN/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1140:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US report on missing Americans finalised

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Aug 2 (CNA) -- All five US citizens, of Greek origin, listed as missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus are concluded to be dead, a US report on their whereabouts says.

    The report also notes that it is unlikely that there are any prisoners held in Turkey.

    Reliable diplomatic sources have told CNA the final draft of the report, commissioned by US President Bill Clinton, says "the US government concluded that the five American citizens did not survive the events in Cyprus in the summer of 1974."

    The Executive Summary of May's final draft, now at the office of US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke, says "various governments, including the Cyprus government, and international organisations looked into allegations that there are prisoners in Turkey. None has found any evidence of that and such allegations are in all likelihood false."

    The report also says "the US government remains committed to finding the remains" and does not use the term "presumed dead", the same sources, who requested anonymity, added.

    The US National Security Council has the final decision about the release of the report, once the State Department gives the green light, they told CNA.

    It is understood the contents of the original draft, handed to the State Department in December last year, were amended to suit NSC recommendations, and background information on events in Cyprus in the 1960s and 1970s was dropped.

    At present, there does not seem to be "much pressure from Congress" to release the report and there are opposing views as to whether it should be released now or be held back.

    The report provides information on all five US missing Americans, made available to the US investigatory team during their work in Cyprus and abroad.

    Much of the new information that has surfaced has come from Greek Cypriot witnesses, the diplomatic sources explained.

    They said "a lot of killing was carried by TMT (Turkish Cypriot paramilitaries)" between the 14 and 20 August 1974 (during the second Turkish offensive against Cyprus) and the Turkish army was "caught by surprise" by the number of revenge killings the Turkish Cypriots had carried out.

    "On 21 August the Turkish army cracked down on these killings," the diplomatic sources added.

    The case of the five Americans rests mainly on the search for the remains of one of the five, 17-year old Andreas Kasapis, believed to be buried in a grave with one other person, "somewhere north of the village of Ashia."

    "We believe Kasapis is not buried in a mass grave and this is why we have requested permission to dig for his remains," the US sources told CNA.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was considering the request for exhumation of Kasapis' remains, following pressure by US ambassador to Cyprus and others, but the whole effort fell through because of the impact statements made by Denktash at the time had on the issue of the missing.

    Denktash had told a private Greek Cypriot TV network that unfortunately all persons missing are dead and explained that a lot of killing was carried out by Turkish Cypriot paramilitaries, without either the knowledge or the condoning of the Turkish invasion forces.

    "If we manage to handle this case with care, and there is no political exploitation of the matter, then we can move on to the other four," the sources added, who stressed that the exact burial place of Kasapis is not in fact known.

    The whereabouts of one of the five, Kyriakos Sophocleous, are not known and will probably never be known, the report notes.

    The other three (Christos Libertos, Kyriakos Leontiou and Socrates Kapsouris) are almost surely buried in mass graves, the report says.

    One of the five, an elderly man is believed to have died of a heart attack and the other two were probably killed in groups between 14-20 August, the report says. It concludes that "they are in a grave with a number of bodies."

    CNA MM/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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