The Committee on Missing Persons hopes for positive developments this September, said Nestoras Nestoros, the CMP’s Greek Cypriot Member.

“A very important factor is the improved way we manage excavations and our research results” Nestoros told CNA, adding at the same time that excavation teams return to work on August 27.

Renewed expectations are based on efforts to attain a better correlation between research  results and excavations, in order to filter the information passed on to archeologists, the Greek Cypriot Member explained.

According to CMP data, since the beginning of 2018, 11 individuals were exhumed and 32 were identified (17 Greek Cypriots and 15 Turkish Cypriots). From 2006 until today a total of 1,211 people were exhumed and 889 were identified. Moreover, 664 Greek Cypriots were identified and 846 are still missing. Another 225 Turkish Cypriots were identified and 267 are still missing.

Nestoros said moreover that the CMP asked for 1994 aerial photographs of the site of a former landfill in Turkish-occupied Dikomo, where the remains of 70 people from Assia are believed to be buried.

This is the second request to the US Embassy in Nicosia, which has already provided the CMP with aerial photos from the same area, dating from 1995. The second request, filed last month, is part of CMP efforts to collect evidence in relation to this complex issue, involving the intentional transfer of remains from another site, in Ornithi, to the former landfill. The landfill was reportedly open until 2002 and the area was later restored with EU funds.

Nestoros, who expects the second request to be granted as well, said “we believe the remains to have been transferred in 1994” in the area.

He said moreover that the EU is positive when it comes to funding a study for a future excavation in the area, while the CMP is already in contact with the Portuguese project planner, who was in charge of the EU-funded land restoration. Once his mandate becomes clear we will ask him to come and we will brief him, Nestoros concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

A Committee on Missing Persons has been 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.

The CMP is a tripartite intercommunal investigatory committee comprising a representative of the Greek Cypriot community, a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community, and a Third Member nominated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and appointed by the UN Secretary General.

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