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US official says funds available if Cyprus solution accepted
2004-04-15 17:10:14

by Rebekah Gregoriades

Brussels, Apr 15 (CNA) -- US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston said that the preliminary donors' conference, which took place in Brussels today with an aim to assist in the implementation of a Cyprus settlement plan, demonstrated that funds for immediate need would be made available to the people of the island if both sides voted in favour of a UN settlement plan on April 24 referenda.

In statements to the press, Weston noted that if the plan is accepted by the people of Cyprus the international community is going to make the resources available, adding that if the Greek Cypriot side voted against the UN plan and the Turkish Cypriot side accepted it, then the US would do everything it could to ameliorate the ill effects on the Turkish Cypriots.

Weston said "we have had a very good morning," noting that what struck him was that the international community and the EU member states that spoke at the preliminary donors' conference were "very clear in their view that this is a unique opportunity for a settlement, which is consistent with our view that it is this settlement or no settlement."

"It was the unanimous view that it was very important that this opportunity be seized, be taken now, and that a settlement be reached, which of course means advocacy of the 'yes' vote by both sides in the referenda," he pointed out.

Weston also said that "there were several interventions from the Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which were uniform in their assessments that the United Cyprus Republic, as envisaged in the finalised plan, would function well in the EU."

He added that there was also the assessment that the Annan plan for a solution was "financially sound and would work."

"And because those issues have been brought up by some of the political leadership on the Greek Cypriot side, I think it is very important to note that the views being expressed by some of the political leadership on the island on functionality and financing are not views which are supported by the experts in the Commission, the member states and the international financial organisations," he said.

Weston noted that the US made "a very substantial offer of assistance today, worth 400 million dollars," adding that "we are very proud of that offer."

He said there was "a great deal of confusion" around the figures regarding the cost of the implementation of a settlement, noting that it was "important to keep in mind that this was a pre-donors' conference, there are only initial assessments being made of what the cost of implementation may be."

"What we are doing here is to demonstrate that in particular the funds that are needed immediately to implement the plan will be available," he explained.

The US envoy said the conference sent "a very strong message that if the plan is accepted by the people of Cyprus" the international community is going "to make the resources available."

He said it was made clear at the conference that "these resources were available for this settlement, now."

Weston also said that "we will do everything we can to ameliorate the ill effects on the Turkish Cypriots" in the event that the Turkish Cypriot community votes in favour of the Annan plan at the April 24 referendum and the Greek Cypriot community dismisses the settlement plan.

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