We will continue to seek answers about our missing, relatives tell CNA

No matter how many years elapse, relatives of missing persons in Cyprus will continue to seek answers about the fate of their loved ones, an elderly lady, Androulla Aristodemou, has told CNA, one of the relatives who handed a petition to the US and the Russian embassies here today.

She was holding the photos of nine missing persons, her own relatives and others whose relatives have died. She had promised them she would continue the struggle to establish their fate. They went missing during Turkeys invasion in 1974.

Androulla Aristodemou is from Ayios Pavlos, a suburb of the capital Nicosia. She is an elderly lady who accompanies another elderly lady, Andriani Elias, from Lapithos village, in the Kyrenia district, whose only son is missing since 1974. She was holding a photo of Elia Elias. They were part of a delegation of the Pancyprian Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons, accompanied by representatives of womens organizations of Cyprus, to submit a petition to the US embassy and the Russian embassy, in connection with the 32nd Marathon of Love for Missing Persons.

In the Russian embassy the petition was received by Andrey Gromov, second in command at the embassy. Vice President of Marathon of Love, Yiorgos Economides, expressed grave concern that relatives of missing are dying and by the time their next of kin are located, there will be nobody to receive their remains.

CMP was set up in the early 1980s and Turkey had constantly refused to cooperate until 2004, he added. Even after that period Turkey did not cooperate in basic issues such as mass graves many of which have been relocated or military archives to help speed up the process of finding remains of missing persons, Economides said.

“If there are more delays, they will be no relatives to deliver the remains of missing persons,” he warned.

Economides said they asked Russia to exert the necessary pressure on Turkey to comply with European Court of Human Rights decisions and UN resolutions for an effective investigation into missing persons cases in order to have results as soon as possible. “The only obstacle to resolving the missing persons issue is Turkey, nobody else,” he added.

Antigoni Papadopoulou, President of womens organisation of Democratic Party (GODIK), speaking on behalf of all Womens Organisations in Cyprus, expressed condolences to the Russian people and their government for the terrorist attack yesterday in Saint Petersburgs metro station.

She thanked Russia for its support on the missing persons issue all these years.

She added that Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan is intransigent and does not respond to international appeals on this humanitarian issue. The presence of the two old ladies, relatives of missing persons, shows that they have great expectations from the international community with regard to this issue. “Please convey the message that time is running out. If we dont have more information about the missing persons, the CMP wont be able to do anything because they have no more data about what happened to these persons,” she said.

Andrey Gromov thanked for the condolences saying that Russia lays great emphasis on the issue of missing persons. He recalled that along with the Russian Ambassador, Stanislav Osadchiy they visited the laboratory of CMP. “They are doing a very important job and we fully supported it and we will do our best,” to help the CMP, he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. A Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) was established, upon agreement between the leaders of the island’s two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.

Source: Cyprus News Agency