State Department: US does not bribe people with public money for political ends
by Demetris Apokis
Washington, Nov 2 (CNA) -- The United States does not bribe people with public money for political ends, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli has said, commenting on reports that some people in Cyprus have been bribed to actively support a UN-proposed solution plan (the Annan plan).
''This is a charge that has been knocking around for some time. We have clearly and unequivocally said that such charges are absurd and baseless, and they should not be made by responsible journalists,'' Ereli said.
The United States, he said, ''does not bribe people with public money for political ends and I think it is shameful to suggest that.''
Asked if the 6.4 million dollars given by State Department for bicommunal projects in Cyprus was allocated from the Department's annual budget, Ereli said that ''all money comes from the US Congress.''
''It is our assessment that the money disbursed was well spent and effective and consistent with the letter and intent of US law and US policy which is to foster bicommunal activities,'' he added.
''We do not have any cause to doubt the utility and value of this program, and we will continue to work with those elements in Cyprus who favor dialogue and partnership and cooperation,'' he said.
An evaluation report on US-funded bicommunal activity, commissioned by the State Department to Nathan Associates, said that efforts to '' 'force' a certain level of NGO bicommunal contact and cooperation may have been premature and largely wasted.''
The Annan plan was rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriots (76%) and accepted by the Turkish Cypriots (65%).