Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said it is a sacred duty and an honour and not an anniversary commitment to work for a solution to missing persons’ issue.
At the same time, he assured the relatives of the missing that despite the obstacles, the government will continue to work tirelessly to put an end to this humanitarian issue which persists for so many years.
In a speech at a gathering at “Mother of the missing” monument in the site of Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, on the occasion of the Missing Persons’ Day, Photiou said that all relatives of the missing are entitled to know the fate of their loved ones with tangible proof.
Referring to the missing persons since the Turkish invasion of 1974 and also those that disappeared between 1963-1964 during the intercommunal fighting, Photiou said that there are still 780 cases of missing persons still unaccounted for and the pain of the families in both Greece and Cyprus is still unbearable.
Photiou criticised Turkey for refusing to give information from the occupation force’s military about mass graves. It also refuses to provide information about areas where it moved remains.
We expect the United Nations, the European Union, but also the powerful nations to take humanitarian initiatives and contribute substantially and effectively to bring an end to this ongoing tragedy, Photiou added.
Despite the “problems and Turkey’s refusal to cooperate, the government, with all our strength and in any way, will intensify our efforts with consistency and determination to locate the fate of every missing person, be that Greek Cypriot, Greek or Turkish Cypriot”, he added.
He also said the resolution of the missing persons issue remains a high priority for the President and the government.
Turkey, he said, has a huge legal and moral obligation, according to international law, to cooperate for the effective investigation of every missing person and to end its unacceptable stance which is a provocation towards civilised humanity.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third.