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Cypriot Diaspora Commissioner Says Unity Hopes at Crossroads

December 27, 2016

NICOSIA – Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots Photis Photiou said hopes for reunifying Cyprus are at a testing point.

Photiou was speaking at the funeral service of Panayiotis Hadjipanayiotou, a Greek Cypriot whose remains were found last year, almost  42 years after an unlawful Turkish invasion that still sees the northern third of the island occupied.

Photiou said that “we again expect Turkey to make the necessary steps, in order for these efforts to bear fruit,” speaking of the talks that will resume in Geneva in January between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

The negotiations collapsed earlier in December at a Swiss resort over the question of how much property stolen by Turks should be returned to Cypriots and whether Turkey will be allowed to keep its 35,000-strong army in the occupied territories.

Photiou said he hoped that an era of freedom and liberty will prevail, without barbed wires, occupation troops or the “anachronistic and unacceptable” guarantees of the past, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

Photiou also said that “our goal aims at reunifying our country, terminating the occupation, safeguarding human rights and basic liberties for all Cypriots, without constraints and exclusions, without winners or losers.

“We want to turn our country into a land of peace and freedom, security and prosperity, without the hatred and the conflict of the past, he added.

The Presidential Commissioner noted that there are several cases of mass executions of soldiers and civilians, for which the Turkish side has not demonstrated thorough cooperation in determining their fate.

He warned that many cases of missing persons will remain unresolved forever, in case the Turkish side continues with the same approach, CNA reported.

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