Villiers to raise issue of UK funding for CMP with Foreign Secretary

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers expressed strong support for the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) and said she would raise the issue of maintaining UK financial support with the Foreign Secretary.

According to an announcement by the MP, Villiers hosted a meeting with the Committee Members and the Conservative Friends of Cyprus, in the House of Commons last week.

Turkish Cypriot Member Gulden Plumer Kucuk, Greek Cypriot Member Nestoras Nestoros, and the Third Member Paul-Henri Arni, all attended the meeting and spoke about the progress made by CMP in seeking to establish the fate of the 2002 Missing People in Cyprus. It is added that 927 have been identified but over half of the families of the Missing still do not know what happened to their relatives.

Speaking after the meeting, Theresa Villiers said that the Committee on Missing Persons does hugely important work in seeking to find answers for the families who lost relatives.

One of the saddest aspects of the division of Cyprus, she went on, is that there are still more than a thousand families do not know what happened to their loved ones and have no remains to bury.

I am full of praise for the work of the CMP bringing comfort to families on both sides who want to know what happened to their fathers, brothers and sons. I strongly support the work of the CMP and it was good to hear an update directly from the committee members Villiers added.

She said moreover that the UK Foreign Office part-funds the CMP, and added that she has kept up the pressure for this to continue. Following my meeting in Parliament, I will raise this matter with the Foreign Secretary to emphasise the importance of maintaining UK Government financial support for the CMP, she concluded.

The meeting was attended by MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord, and by various leading members of Conservative Friends of Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

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.

Source: Cyprus News Agency