Tatar positive to joint meeting with UNSG, President Christodoulides says

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar appeared positive to his proposal for a joint meeting with the UN Secretary General within the framework of the UN General Assembly, President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, said on Friday, in his statements upon his return to the Presidential Palace, after their joint visit to the anthropological laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP).

President Christodoulides also said that he proposed to Tatar the idea first voiced by lawyer Achilleas Demetriades for a truth and reconciliation committee, which could operate in tandem with the CMP.

In particular, he said that he asked Tatar, due to the fact that his father was also a member of the CMP for more than 20 years, and given that, as time goes by more difficulties are met while this was a humanitarian issue, that the two sides cooperate even more. In this context, he added, he conveyed to Tatar, Demetriades’ idea for a truth committee.

President Christodoulides said that this was a humanitarian issue, but if there were more results and information, this effort will send a political message, and will be “the most powerful confidence-building measure.”

“I hope that our initiative that led to this joint meeting, to the joint communique, will have results”, he added.

President Christodoulides also noted that he referred to the role of the EU which, he said, is the financial supporter of the CMP “as is the Republic of Cyprus, in every meeting we have with foreign governments we raise the issue of strengthening the work of the CMP”.

He also said he asked Tatar to jointly ask the UN Secretary General for a joint meeting after the official week of the UN General Assembly. “His reaction to the meeting was positive”, he said, adding that Tatar did not reply to him, however, as regards the proposal to jointly ask the UNSG for this.

“I hope that if the meeting takes place, which I believe will be of decisive importance, there will be results”, he added.

Among other things, he also said that, “as far as our Turkish Cypriot compatriots are concerned, we are here to cooperate”, noting that the Government responded positively today to a request for some medicines they needed. He added that the Government was working on a set of unilateral measures concerning the Turkish Cypriots.

Regarding the Cyprus issue, when asked to comment on Tatar’s statements during the visit to the Anthropological Laboratory in which he reiterated his demand for “sovereign equality” recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas before any talks’ process could proceed, the President of the Republic said that “I did not go there to discuss this issue, first of all out of respect to relatives of the missing persons who have been waiting for so many years and expect something positive to come out of such meetings.”

He added that he did not expect to hear anything different. “I know Mr Tatar’s positions very well, but, at the same time, this does not deter me from doing what is necessary to resume the talks”, he said.

He noted that he has heard many statements, both by Tatar and the Turkish President and that what he could say was that “we will continue and are continuing even now, at the technocratic level in particular, the efforts towards the resumption of the talks, always on the basis of the agreed framework.”

Asked if a negotiating team would be set up to support the Greek Cypriot negotiator for the Cyprus issue, the President said that “very soon”, this group would be set up, adding that, before going to New York, he will also have a meeting with the National Council and within this context they would also discuss this issue.

On the issue of the remains of missing persons from the village of Assia, believed to have been moved and buried in an area in Dikomo, in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, where there is now a landfill, President Christodoulides said the Republic of Cyprus has officially requested from the EU to finance the works that need to be carried out in that area, so that excavations can take place.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Since 1974, 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 to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots, who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.

According to statistical data published on the CMP website by June 30, 2023, of 1510 Greek Cypriot missing persons 741 were identified and 769 are still missing. Out of 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons 292 were identified and 200 are still missing.


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