Marking the Missing Persons Day in Cyprus (October 29th), the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Mr Christos Karaolis, sent a letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss, urging the UK Government to play a leading role in the ongoing humanitarian issue of Cyprus’ 975 Missing Persons to provide closure for their families, friends and compatriots. The Federation’s President also sent a letter to Rishi Sunak on November 15th, to mark the illegal Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by the occupation regime.

The letter to Prime Minister Truss urged the British government to call upon Turkey to guarantee access to military sites in the occupied territories for the purposes of exhumations as well as information on burial sites and military records. The letter to Prime Minister Sunak subsequently urged the British Government to reject the calls from Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader for partition, supporting a free, united Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty MP, responded to the letters on 1 December 2022. On the issue of Cyprus Missing Persons, Mr Docherty reinforced the continued UK support saying that ‘The UK maintains close contact with the Committee on Missing Persons as the entity mandated to search for, recover, identify and return to their families, the remains of Cypriots from both communities.’

The Government, Mr Docherty added, ‘ensured language was included in the renewal of the mandate for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, calling on all parties to enhance their cooperation with the Committee on Missing Persons, explicitly through providing full access, without delay, to all areas and responding in a timely manner to requests for archival information on possible burial sites.’

Addressing the concerns raised in the letter sent on November 15th, Mr Docherty said that the UK has been consistently calling for all sides to avoid any actions or statements that could damage the prospects for a settlement and reiterated the Government’s commitment to ‘continue to contribute to a settlement, through advocating a solution in line with UN parameters based on the model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation – a model that is internationally accepted and one that we believe to be broad enough to address the concerns of both sides.’

The Minister for Europe added that the Government’s commitment otherwise consists of ‘our deployment of military personnel to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and our support for the UN-led Settlement Process.’

The visit of the Republic of Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides on November 15th, was also referred to in the Minister’s letter, noting his meeting with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Mr Docherty said that the two Ministers agreed to work closely together for a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus settlement process within the UN parameters.

In closing, Mr Docherty said ‘The Minister of State responsible for the United Nations, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, also met the Cypriot Foreign Minister, to discuss strengthening our cooperation at the UN and our shared commitment to securing a lasting peace in Cyprus,’