The United Nations have for years shown a non constructive attitude with regard to the issue of the missing persons in Cyprus, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday.
He noted that the Government has made representations and as a result there is a positive shift in the stance of the international organisation vis a vis the Government`s position.
President Anastasiades was addressing a ceremony at the Presidential Palace during which honorary diplomas were presented to the relatives of individuals missing since the Turkish invasion of 1974.
The list of the missing persons remains long, the President said, reiterating that there can be no solution of the Cyprus problem without specific and clear results that will establish the fate of the missing persons.
There can be no excuses for war crimes, President Anastasiades stressed, adding that information has been kept hidden and responsibilities have been covered up for 42 years.
“The fact that until today we have managed to locate and identify only few of the missing persons is an unbearable burden for the state and us as a leadership” he said and noted that for decades Turkey whose troops occupy the island`s northern third, has been showing an unacceptable and inhuman stance.
In recognising the crime they committed, the Turkish army relocated the remains in some cases to mislead the competent authorities, the President noted.
Despite the obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable, as he said, the President assured the relatives of the missing persons that “we will continue to search and to use all means at our disposal to find the answers that we all seek soon”.
President Anastasiades said that during the last year the process of locating and identifying remains has slowed down, adding that the Government has activated new mechanisms and has made use of new information for exhumations sites.
“Following concerted action and strong representations Turkey has allowed for excavations to take place in 30 military zones in the next three years” he said, adding that Turkey must also allow access to the records of the Turkish army.
“Having established that even the United Nations themselves have for years shown a non constructive attitude, we made strong representations, through various missions, our representative in the Committee on Missing Persons and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues, in order to sensitise those who ought to help” Anastasiades noted and added that there has been “a positive shift in the stance of the United Nations with regard to our position and I am looking forward to a more effective collaboration, which will give a new impetus to our efforts”.
The President stressed that “there can be no solution of the problem without specific and clear results that will establish the fate of the missing persons”. It is an “essential component of the solution” he noted.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. As a result of the invasion, many Greek Cypriots were listed as missing, most of whom soldiers or reservists, who were captured in the battlefield.
A Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) was established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.