Cypriot leaders in symbolic visit to CMP lab

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President Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, will pay a joint visit to the Committee of Missing Persons on Friday in a rare joint event.

It is seen as a non-political confidence-building step in helping to thaw the ice over the resumption of UN-led peace talks.

UNFICYP spokesperson in Cyprus Aleem Siddique issued a statement confirming the schedule of the meeting for Friday: “The visit of the two leaders, Nikos Christodoulides and  Ersin Tatar, to the anthropological laboratory of the Committee of Missing Persons, is now confirmed and will take place at 9 am.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

A Committee on Missing Persons was 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 the CMP, out of 2002 missing persons, 1,183 were exhumed, and 1,023 were identified.

Of the 1510 Greek Cypriots missing, 732 were identified, and for 778, their fate is unknown.

And from 492 Turkish Cypriots missing, 291 were identified, and 201 are still missing.