US supports EU donors' conference for Cyprus
Nicosia, Jan 24 (CNA) - The United States welcomes the announcement that
the European Commission is ready to organise an international donors'
conference to provide financial support in the context of a comprehensive
settlement of the Cyprus question. The US is prepared to participate in such a
conference and to contribute financially.
In a press statement, US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher notes that the US stands ready to provide support and expertise to a ''needs assessment'' effort in Cyprus as the first step in preparing for a donors' conference.|
''The US welcomes the announcement that the European Commission is ready to organise an international donors conference to provide financial support in the context of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question. We fully support such an international effort under the leadership of the EU'', he says.
Boucher adds that ''we agree with the Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen that, at this decisive time, it is important for the international community to send a clear signal of solidarity with the people of Cyprus''.
''The US is prepared to participate in such a conference and to contribute financially. We further stand ready to provide support and expertise to a 'needs assessment' effort in Cyprus as the first step in preparing for a donors' conference and in support of the UN Secretary General's Good Offices Mission'', he concludes.
Yesterday, Verheugen proposed, with the full backing of European Commission President Romano Prodi, a donors' conference to financially support a Cyprus settlement.
The Commission said the conference should be convened as soon as a settlement is reached and endorsed by the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and that as a first step the Commission would be prepared to make a needs assessment and to contact countries and international institutions, which are ready to contribute and to provide their expertise.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides are currently engaged in UN-led talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement.
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