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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-18

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    It is a non descript room that will see countless emotional outpouring like no other. Many families will lay eyes on the remains of their loved ones whom they havent seen in decades. Many tears will be shed, sobbing will be heard but in the end this room will bring a sense of closure which relatives of missing people in Cyprus have been denied.

    The room is the CMP Family Viewing Facility, a donation by the US government channeled through UNDP Action for Cooperation and Trust to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in the United Nations Protected Area (UNPA), at the old Nicosia airport where the remains of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, missing from the early 1960s when inter-communal fighting broke out and the mid 1970s when Turkish troops invaded the island, will be seen by their families for the first time.

    The facility was inaugurated today in the presence of Special Representative of the UNSG, Michael Moller and the US Ambassador Roland Schlicher, the scientists of the CMP Anthropological Laboratory, representatives of the relatives of the missing and the media.

    The fact the we have reached a point were such facilities are needed, said Director of UNDP Jaco Cilliers, is indeed a credit to the hard work and dedication of the people of the CMP and to those who contribute to the reconciliation efforts in Cyprus, noting that as Nelson Mandela had said reconciliation is not something that you do in the end of a process, it is something that starts as soon as there is joint understanding of mutual dependence by groups to solve the problem.

    These and other efforts by Cypriots inspire greater cooperation and trust which is so crucial for creating cooperation and trust which is so crucial for creating understanding between all communities on the island, he said.

    In his address, the third member of the Committee of Missing Persons, Christophe Girod, explained that in the specific facility the relatives will view the remains after they had been identified.

    This is a place where a lot of emotion will be unfold, Girod said, expressing warm thanks to the US Ambassador, for the generosity, without which this building would not be here today and also mentioned the UK as the building is on British retained side and the construction was supervised by the British.

    CMP Turkish Cypriot member Gulden Plumer Kucuk noted the importance of the humanitarian aspect of the project and said: This facility is for the families, Turkish and Greek Cypriot families, to come and visit their loved ones after 40 and 30 years.

    She added that Turkish and Greek Cypriots have a lot of things to learn from the history of Cyprus.

    Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Elias Georgiades summing up the tragic scenes that take place in the facility in his own words said: The relatives get angry, they complain, they always ask a big why? They demand the truth, the whole truth! Yet, at the end, they always express their gratitude to those who helped, in one or the other way, to reach this stage. They hug and kiss the scientists. And you can feel it, that they thank you, they say, it is coming from their heart. It is a very big and genuine thank you.

    He said todays occasion had a purely humanitarian nature, noting that the programme is very important, not only for the people who suffered most, as a result of the disappearance of a loved one, but will, most likely, help towards the process of reconciliation in Cyprus and a peaceful future for all Cypriots.

    The tragedy of Cyprus, almost in its totality, has been assembled inside the laboratory adjacent to this building, which was designed with the help of the U.K, and built with a contribution from the German embassy.

    There, he explained, anthropologists and osteologists, from the Argentinean team, as well as, from Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots jointly, are trying to put together the violently scattered bones of innocent people, who went missing because of inhuman acts of the past.

    Here, in this new building, the families will come to talk to the scientists, and hear from them an explanation on the long and difficult process, which produced the result of the positive identification, which was communicated to them earlier, said Georgiades, adding that they will then enter the room next door, where they will meet, after 44 or 34 years, the remains of their loved one, the person whose forced disappearance has determined their lives, in every step and in every aspect, for all these years.

    We, who are always here to help these families, are shaken and deeply moved. These are very sacred moments for the relatives. They cry, some of them faint, they look, they stare at the bones, they touch, they kneel in front of the remains, they talk to them loudly, but also silently. They kiss them, they examine them from many angles. Their brain registers tens of images that cannot fade away. Their imagination tries to travel the last days, the last hours, the last moments, of the bone figure in front of them, The Greek Cypriot CMP member said.

    He expressed thanks to the UN, the EU and referring to the facility he noted especially the generous help of the American embassy and the contribution of the Ambassador who will be leaving Cyprus in the summer.

    I am sure the Cypriots will remember him positively. And when he visits Cyprus again, and finds time to come to this family viewing facility, he will see that a big picture will be placed on the wall to remember this day, to note this humanitarian contribution of the American people and the positive role, played by their representative in Cyprus, Roland Schlicher, Georgiades said.

    Schlicher said more than 1900 are still officially listed as missing, more than three decades of the Cyprus tragic events, noting that without closure the pain remains.

    That is why the work of the CMP is so important, not only for the families and victims but for the future of the island. He expressed thanks to those who contribute to the effort and his condolences, gratitude and respect to the families of missing for remaining involved in the process for so many years.

    Noting that the work is not easy, he stressed that the bicommunal cooperation that takes place here in all the stages of the process is really a model of excellence.

    The CMP, set up in 1981, is looking into cases of persons reported as missing in the inter-communal fighting in the early 1960s as well as during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    Hundreds of Greek Cypriots combatants, women and children - went missing during the summer of 1974 when Turkish troops invaded. Many were last seen alive in the hands of the Turkish military.

    Turkish Cypriots are listed as missing since the inter-communal fighting in the early 1960s, soon after the Republic was established.


    The international community should seize the momentum and the window of opportunity after the election of Demetris Christofias at the presidency of the Republic of Cyprus, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon has said.

    In statements to the press after his monthly working lunch with UN Security Council members, during which they discussed the Cyprus question, Kosovo and Darfur, Ban expressed hope ``that we will be able to see improvement and make some breakthrough in this long pending issue in Europe``.

    ``The international community should seize the momentum and the window of opportunity when Mr Christofias the new Cyprus president was elected and is committed to the resolution of this issue,`` Ban noted.

    Referring to his recent meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Dakar, Senegal, Ban said Talat ``also expressed willingness to engage in constructive dialogue``.

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