Iraqi support

The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) yesterday said it was “deeply saddened” that it would no longer be cooperating with the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) to identify the remains of those who went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

But it stressed its decision to reject a new contract with CMP and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was down to the fact that the terms and conditions kept changing, with the most recent alterations giving the institute no choice but to withdraw. The reasons, said CING, had to do with scientific practice, the institute’s independence and its staff’s dignity.

It refrained, however, from offering the exact reasons why the contract wasn’t renewed and claimed it would not be engaging in any public discussions on the matter.

CING said it had taken on the missing persons’ genetic identification programme back in 1996 with the sole purpose of offering its expertise to resolve the humanitarian problem.

“All these years (CING) carried out its duties fully, with efficiency and responsibility, using the most modern and scientifically correct methods,” said the Institute.

But it added that since the start of 2011, when its most recent contract ended, the CMP and UNDP decided to alter the contract terms and propose a new one, with new identification procedures and a reformed programme.

As this was a very sensitive, national and humanitarian issue, CING said it was especially flexible and accepting of the “many and serious” demands that were imposed by the CMP.

But despite this, it added, “unfortunately an agreement wasn’t signed because CMP/UNDP kept appearing with new terms and conditions”.

CING said it was given newer proposals last week, which just couldn’t be accepted by its board for scientific reasons as well as a matter of principle.

“The special sensitivity and unprecedented tolerance we have shown all these years for such a sensitive, national and humanitarian matter have limits,” read the announcement.

CING thanked the hundreds of relatives of the missing persons who they have collaborated with over the past years.

But it added that out of respect for these people and the suffering they have been through, CING would not engage in a public row over the reasons the contract was interrupted – “in the hope that this stance isn’t misinterpreted as a weakness to defend its decisions”.

CING said it would continue to be at the disposal of the state and the missing persons’ families.

On Friday, Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the government deeply regretted “the negative development on the issue”.

He conceded that some of the terms imposed by the CMP were not easy to accept. But Stefanou added that CING should have shown more flexibility, considering the seriousness of the matter.

Yesterday, Stefanou issued a swift response to DIKO’s vice leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, who among others wondered why President Demetris Christofias – and his adviser on the matter, presidential commissioner George Iacovou – hadn’t taken any action when they realised the CMP’s terms kept changing.

Stefanou said Papadopoulos’ criticism of the government had “long lost its credibility, as it is malicious and arbitrary”.

He added that even though it wasn’t the government’s place to intervene in a matter that was between CING and the CMP, it still made many efforts to help the two parties surpass their problems and disagreements.

Source: Cyprus-Mail

Published on May 27, 2012
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