by Nathan Morley
NICOSIA, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to Nicosia Huang Xingyuan pledged Tuesday to donate 10,000 euros to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) that helped relatives of missing persons to recover the remains of their loved ones who vanished during the inter-communal fighting in Cyprus.
The ambassador made the pledge while visiting the UN-backed organization CMP's laboratory in the capital Nicosia.
The ambassador was briefed on how the organization works to arrange proper burials and close long periods of anguish and uncertainty for many families.
"The donation we make today will be the first step towards our future cooperation," the ambassador said, while expressing the support of China to the CMP's humanitarian efforts.
Most of the missing persons disappeared during inter-communal clashes in the 60s and 70s. So far, 927 missing persons from both communities have been identified and returned to their families for dignified burials.
"We are very satisfied with the visit of the ambassador. It was an important event for us," Paul-Henri Arni, the United Nations member of the CMP, told Xinhua.
"We need support, not just financially, but political support as well, so China's contribution is considered to be very important," Arni added.
The CMP is made up of a representative from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, as well as the UN representative.
In a special presentation for the Chinese Ambassador, Nestoras Nestoros, the Greek Cypriot Member of the CMP, explained how the first phase of their work is investigation, which involves looking for probable burial sites, followed by excavations. "We have a genetic unit, health and safety and IT," Nestoros explained. "After identification, we inform their relatives."
With the passage of time, the CMP is urgently identifying burial sites and attempting speed up the identification of remains. However, the organization doesn't establish the cause of death, as its objective is purely humanitarian.
Cyprus was partitioned when Turkey forces entered its northern part in a 1974 military operation, in response to a coup organized by the military rulers of Greece at the time.