Presidential Commissioner requests AHIF’s contribution to efforts to solve missing persons issue

Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou has requested the American Hellenic Institute Foundation’s (AHIF) contribution to efforts made, through initiatives and actions towards decision making centres in the US, with a view to solve the humanitarian issue of missing persons in Cyprus.

According to a press release issued by the Presidency, Photiou met on Tuesday with AHIF President Nick Larigakis and a team of Greek-Americans studying political and social sciences in various US universities.

Photiou congratulated Larigakis for AHIF’s initiative to organize for the tenth consecutive year a visit of a group of students to Cyprus and briefed the AHIF delegation about issues he is dealing with.

The Commissioner elaborated on efforts made to ascertain the fate of Greek Cypriot and Greek missing persons and to the problems due to Turkey’s negative stance vis-a-vis the humanitarian problem of missing persons, underlining that without its substantive participation and cooperation the problem cannot be solved so that the pain of the missing person’s families is alleviated.

Photiou said that time is the biggest enemy and asked for AHIF’s contribution to efforts made through the promotion of initiatives and actions towards decision making centres with a view to solve this humanitarian problem.

Moreover, he referred to the violation of human rights in Cyprus by Turkey and to the continuous efforts made to secure that the enclaved will remain at their ancestral homes, as well as the normal operation of schools in occupied Rizokarpaso.

On his part, Larigakis assured that they will make every effort for a solution to the issue of missing persons and to promote the just cause of the people of Cyprus. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

At the end of the second phase of the Turkish invasion late in August 1974, about 20,000 Greek and Maronite Cypriots inhabiting in villages and townships primarily in the Karpas Peninsula of northeast Cyprus and in villages west of the city of Kyrenia remained behind the ceasefire line. Today, only a total of 437 (April 2013) persons remain behind the green line, of whom 328 are Greek Cypriot and 109 Maronite Cypriots. These persons are known as the enclaved.

Despite the Third Vienna Agreement, Turkey and its Turkish Cypriot subordinate regime in occupied Cyprus have violated all its terms. Since 1974, the enclaved have endured conditions of hardship and oppression because of their ethnicity, language and religion.

Source: Cyprus News Agency