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State Department: We wish to ease Turkish Cypriot ''isolation''
2005-02-10 10:21:49

Washington, Feb 10 (CNA) -- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visit to Ankara discussed the situation on Cyprus and ''reiterated our view that we would like to take steps to ease the economic isolation of Turkish Cyprus'', US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli has said.

Responding to questions during yesterday's daily briefing, Ereli added that US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Laura Kennedy is currently traveling in the region for which she is responsible ''in her capacity as Deputy Assistant Secretary, not in her capacity as Acting Coordinator for Cyprus''.

Asked if Rice in her meetings discussed Greek-Turkish bilateral issues and the Cyprus problem he referred to the transcripts of ''her numerous public comments'' and added: ''She said that they talked about the situation on Cyprus. She reiterated our view that we would like to take steps to ease the economic isolation of Turkish Cyprus''.

Asked if the Secretary is going to meet in Brussels with Turkish Cypriot politician Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called premier of Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, he said ''I don't know''.

As regards Laura Kennedy's trip to the region he said she is ''currently traveling in the region for which she is responsible including visits to Belgium, Greece, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan''.

Answering to another question he said he was not aware of a report in the "Washington Post" that the Pentagon's chief investigator is looking into the military's practice of paying journalists to write propaganda-type stories to a website section called ''Southeast European Times,'' and in influencing public opinion in the Balkans.

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