United Nations Secretary General Dr. Kurt Waldheim will take off from Nicosia's disused international airport?
United Nations Secretary General Dr. Kurt Waldheim will take off from Nicosia's disused international airport when he leaves Cyprus on Sunday (13 February) after a 24-hour visit. This has been seen as a gesture symbolising his hopes for a settlement in Cyprus. The airport has been closed since bitter fighting there after the Turkish invasion of July 1974, and Dr. Waldheim's scheduled visit has already brought a reaction from the Greek Cypriot community.
SYNOPSIS: On Wednesday (9 February) several thousand parents and relations of missing Greek Cypriots organised a big demonstration to bring their case to the attention of Dr. Waldheim. An estimated 5,000 people who have relatives still missing in the Turkish-controlled north of the island gathered in Elefheria Square in Nicosia. The demonstrators held banners calling for the subject of their missing relatives to be included in the discussions between Dr. Waldheim and Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
From Elefheria Square, the crowd marched to the House of Representatives building where they were first addressed by former Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Spyros Kyprianou.
An estimated 2,000 Greek Cypriots have been missing since the Turkish invasion nearly three years ago. Hopes of better relations between the two communities have been revived recently with the first meeting for 14 years between Greek Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Afterwards, the crowd went to the offices of Archbishop Makarios, the President of Cyprus, to press their case. Archbishop Makarios promised them that he would discuss the problem with Mr. Denktash at their future meetings. So far the authorities in the Turkish-controlled sector have refused to give any information about the fate of the missing people. Many were last seen in Turkish prison camps several weeks after hostilities has ended.