Cypriot president to apologize to ambassadors for serial killer murders

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NICOSIA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will meet with ambassadors of foreign countries and will express regrets for the murders by a serial killer, and offer his apologies for possible omissions in the police handling of the cases, an official statement said on Thursday.

Anastasiades had accepted earlier in the day the resignation of his Justice Minister, Ionas Nicolaou, who came under fierce criticism for the failure of the police to effectively deal with reports about women who had gone missing.

The statement issued by the Presidential Palace said the president invited diplomatic representatives of countries whose citizens were reportedly killed by a self-confessed serial killer, and also of other countries which have substantial numbers of citizens working in Cyprus.

The killer confessed to the murder of five women and the daughters of two of the victims, aged six and eight.

The women reportedly killed come from the Philippines, Romania and Nepal.

The statement said the meeting was arranged so that "the president can express his regrets for the victims of the heinous crimes and offer an apology on behalf of the state for possible omissions in the handling of the cases".

Anastasiades will also inform them, according to the statement, of measures which the government intends to put in place to strengthen the mechanisms and procedures addressing complaints that foreign workers may have.

According to unofficial data, up to 25,000 people are currently employed in Cyprus and mostly women work as house assistants. There are also several thousand asylum seekers who arrived in the island from Turkey irregularly. Enditem

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