The Minster of State for Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, has promised to conduct “a thorough search” in the archives of the Ministry of Defence for any information that might assist the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) shed further light in the ongoing drama of hundreds of Cypriot families.
Mr Penning has provided such assurances in a letter addressed to the Conservative MP Sheryll Murray. The Member of Parliament for South East Cornwall had written to the Ministry of Defence asking for their help on behalf of the CMP following a recent visit to Cyprus, as member of a Conservative Friends of Cyprus delegation.
In his response letter the Defence Minister commends the important work being carried out by the CMP. He notes that the UK Government is facilitating the Committee by enabling it to work from a British-owned site in the Buffer Zone and by having supported it financially for specific projects, on top of the EU funding the CMP receives.
Mr Penning also welcomes the agreement reached by the CMP members in July 2016 to seek information on possible burial sites of missing persons that may be contained in archives of security forces and international organisations that were operating in Cyprus during 1963-64 and 1974.
“We are currently considering the request received from the CMP in this regard, and will undertake a thorough search of departmental records dating back several decades to locate any information that might help bring closure to those concerned. We will also provide the CMP with advice on conducting a search of The National Archives”, says the Minister.
Noting that it will not be possible to confirm whether any such valuable information exists in the archives until the search is complete and that it will require some time to complete it, Mr Penning reassures the Conservative MP that the search will be done “in a timely manner” and that the CMP will be contacted directly once it has finished.