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US State Department: No money was spent in Cyprus to bribe people
2004-10-21 09:22:16

by Demitris Apokis

Washington, Oct 21 (CNA) US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said that the UN, the US and others had very clearly supported the ''yes'' campaign in Cyprus, but dismissed allegations that bribing of any form was involved.

Responding to questions Boucher also expressed certainty that everybody can account for the money spent during the campaign transparently and openly.

''The United Nations and the United States and others made very clear their support for a yes vote in Cyprus'', Boucher said, adding however that ''the fundamental premise of the (journalist's) question that somehow money was beign spread out to bribe people I just don't accept.''

''All of us who are interested in seeing a good outcome to the effort the UN had put in and others have put in to trying to get an agreement that was to benefit all the people of Cyprus, we did go out and support it in our speeches and in our statements'', he said.

As regards US Congress funds used by UNOPS in Cyprus, he said ''US funds spent in Cyprus are spent for bicommunal activities, spent to support peace on the island, spent to support rapprochement and cooperation between the two communities in Cyprus''.

''This is money that we are quite open about. As you know, it's all recorded in Congress -- reported to Congress how we spend it, and that's the purpose of these activities'', he noted.

Asked to comment on the resignation of the so-called prime minister in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat, Boucher said ''we respect the democratic process in northern Cyprus''.

''We understand that Mr. Talat will stay on as caretaker until a new government is formed or early elections are held'', he added.

Asked how this development affects US efforts to end the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community from the hands of the Turkish invasion and occupation forces the Spokesman said: ''The efforts that we have been making, will continue to make, to work more closely with Turkish Cypriots and to offer them chances and opportunities that they haven't had is based on our desire to support the effort of the Turkish Cypriot community to be more involved in trade, commerce and other aspects of the world''.

He clarified that the US effort is not directed at a particular government, but at the Turkish Cypriots as a community and ''our desire is to try to help them and maintain their interest in reaching an agreement and becoming part of Europe and participating more broadly in the world than they have in the past''.

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