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Nicosia, July 29 Cypriot leaders held a meeting during which they made a joint appealing to the people to provide information that would help locate missing persons in conflicts, which date back almost to the establishment of the state.
President Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar held the meeting on Friday at the headquarters of the UN (UN)-led Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), which investigates the fate of hundreds of people from both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The two leaders called on all those who have information about possible sites of burial to share it with CMP as reliable information can accelerate the process of locating, exhuming and identifying the remains of missing persons,” said a joint statement issued by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
CMP data shows that out of 1,510 Greek Cypriot missing persons, 741 have been identified and 769 are still missing.
Out of 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons, 292 have been identified and 200 are still missing.
At a joint press conference after the meeting, Christodoulides and Tatar made an impassioned appeal to potential witnesses, saying that time is rapidly running out for the families that want to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones.
They said people could share information with CMP confidentially.
The two leaders pointed out that the issue of the missing people is a purely humanitarian one and should be insulated from political considerations.
Christodoulides and Tatar toured CMP’s workshops in the buffer zone on the outskirts of Nicosia and were briefed by experts on the task of locating human remains, sometimes tiny bits of bones, and of identifying them through DNA testing.
The CMP workshops are situated in the old Nicosia airport complex, which was abandoned after fierce fighting in 1974 and was later turned into the headquarters of the UNFICYP.