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19 May, 2024
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Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders unite for humanitarian mission

Christodoulides and Tatar to search for missing persons


The President of the Republic, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, visited the Anthropological Laboratory of the Investigative Committee for Missing Persons (ICMP) at the site of the old Nicosia airport this morning, accompanied by the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mr. Ersin Tatar.

President Christodoulides and Mr. Tatar were given a tour of the ICMP facilities by its three members and were extensively briefed on the Committee's work, its current progress, and the challenges it faces.

Both leaders praised the Committee's work, which they deemed highly significant, and expressed their shared belief that the ICMP's humanitarian efforts should remain unaffected by political processes.

Speaking to reporters, President Christodoulides stated that they are exploring ways to expedite the effort to find the missing persons, stressing that whether they are Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots, they are all missing individuals who need to be located.

He further mentioned that he is doing everything possible to resume negotiations and expressed hope that more progress can be announced by the end of September.

On his part, Mr. Tatar reiterated his demand for the recognition of the sovereignty of the pseudostate before any negotiation process takes place.

In a joint statement, both leaders expressed their full support for the effective work of the ICMP in Cyprus and acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the Committee members and the staff of the Anthropological Laboratory involved in this commendable task. They reaffirmed their belief that the ICMP is strictly carrying out a humanitarian mission and emphasized the importance of keeping it free from political interference.

They also called on anyone with information about possible burial sites to share it with the ICMP, assuring witnesses that their information can be treated confidentially, as reliable information can expedite the process of locating, exhuming, and identifying the remains of the missing.

The leaders emphasized the need to continue relentless efforts to locate and identify all the missing persons, placing the responsibility of the ICMP primarily on fulfilling the wishes of the families of the missing by facilitating the return of their loved ones' remains for a proper burial, by their religious traditions and practices.

The President was accompanied to the ICMP by the Government Spokesman, Mr. Constantinos Petrides, and the Greek Cypriot negotiator, Mr. Menelaos Menelaou.

Regarding whether the two leaders would have a private meeting, UN sources stated that it would depend on them and that such a meeting could take place if they wish.

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