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Swedish parliamentary delegation visits CMP Laboratory

A Swedish parliamentary delegation, headed by first deputy speaker of the Riksdag, Tobias Billstrom, visited today the Committee On Missing Persons (CMP) Laboratory, located in the area of Nicosia international airport, under the control of UNFICYP since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Swedish parliamentarians were briefed by CMP members on the work carried out by the CMP and toured the Laboratory.

“It’ s been a really interesting visit but also a visit that brings several different emotions because on the one hand we acknowledge and praise the important work which is being carried out by the CMP and of course it is important for us coming from a country like Sweden which hasn`t had war for more than 200 years to see what this really means” Tobias Billstrom told CNA.

As he noted it is important to understand what war means, adding that “if this could be brought forward to more people, perhaps it could also serve the purpose of preventing war.”

He also said that “speaking with the archaeologists and the anthropologists you also understand that they really feel strongly that what they are doing helps to bring Cyprus to come to an end with this story”.

“And I think that this is something we will bring back to Sweden” he added.

The Swedish parliamentarian also stated that during the visit they were briefed on the cost of the work carried out by the CMP, noting that “it is also important to remember that it is money we talk about when we talk about excavations and anthropological work”.

“This is something we should talk about, Sweden is not on the list of bilateral donors, it contributes through the EU budget, but of course there might be very well be a discussion” he said, recalling that Sweden has a long standing tradition of cooperation with Cyprus, as the country participated in the UN peace-keeping force for many decades and there has always been a good tradition of cooperation.

From his part the Third Member (United Nations) of the CMP Paul-Henri Arni noted that it is important to have foreign delegations coming to see the work of the CMP and in particular when they come from national parliaments, “because it’ s after all the parliaments who most of the time decide on budgets, contribution, support”.

“I remember the German parliamentarians who came here, they were instrumental in restarting German donations” he said.

“For us parliamentarians are even more important than ministers because they are studying budgets at national parliaments all the time and make the decisions” he added.

The Republic of Cyprus has been divided by Turkish military troops since 1974, when Turkey invaded and still occupies 37% of this EU – Mediterranean island state. 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.

According to CMP figures, the remains of 1192 people were exhumed by the end of 2016. Seven hundred forty missing persons were identified by December 31st, 2016.

source: CNA

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