Cyprus’ House President, Annita Demetriou, said on Thursday she would send a letter to the Council of Europe (CoE) about the issue of missing persons and call on the human rights organisation to help so that the issue is brought to the fore.

According to a statement by Parliament following a meeting between Demetriou and members of the Pancyprian Organisation of Relatives of Undeclared War Prisoners and Missing Persons, the House President said that the issue of the missing persons, was “the most tragic aspect of the Cyprus problem”, and must be above any political expediencies.

She also reassured the chairman of the organisation, Nikos Sergides, that she would take steps on the matter, both with a letter to the Council of Europe but also through the special committee of the Cypriot MPs who participate in the CoE.

In her letter, according to the statement, Demetriou said she will highlight the humanitarian aspect of the whole issue and the need to proceed with the provision of the necessary information on the issue of the missing, and will call for the matter to be placed under the supervision of the Council of Europe.

During the meeting, Sergides, briefed Demetriou on the need for support by the UN of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), that is tasked with investigating, finding and exhuming remains of persons missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion, so that it can fulfil its mandate. Sergides pointed out that the biggest problem is the time that has passed since, with the relatives of missing persons dying without knowing what happened to their loved ones, the statement said.

The main aspect of the problem, he also said, was the refusal of the Turkish Cypriot side to point out the burial places of the missing persons but also where their remains were relocated.

Sergides also briefed Demetriou on the close cooperation of the organisation with their Greek counterpart, with the Presidency Commissioner, who is dealing with humanitarian issues, but also on the work of the CMP.

Demetriou expressed readiness to cooperate with the office of the Presidency Commissioner but also for contacts with the missing persons organisation in Greece to bring the issue to the fore, the statement concludes.

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