Remains of missing Cypriots to be returned to families soon

By Xinhua

Nicosia : The first remains of Cypriots who disappeared during conflicts in the Mediterranean island decades ago can be returned to their families at the end of June, local media reported on Sunday.

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    Christophe Girod, an official of the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP), told Cyprus News Agency that the remains were exhumed in both the Turkish Cypriot north and the government-controlled south.

    Scientists have been busy with the identification work through DNA and psychologists will help the families when they accept the remains of their beloved ones, he added.

    More than 270 human remains have been found so far in unmarked graves on the island. The CMP said last December that the first batch of remains could be returned to their families by April 2007,but the complications of the process have obviously led to the delay.

    The Greek Cypriots claim over 1,500 people still missing while the Turkish Cypriots said some 500 missing during the 1963-1964 inter-communal fighting and the 1974 war, when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of Cyprus following a coup by a group of Greek officers who pushed for union with Greece.