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Greece says economic growth in Cyprus should be enhanced
2005-02-17 11:40:19

by Christa Nicolaou

Athens, Feb 17 (CNA) -- Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman George Koumoutsakos said today that, after a referendum in Cyprus on a UN plan for a settlement of the political problem, Greece's position was that economic growth and cooperation should be enhanced in Cyprus.

Commenting on today's illegal visit to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus by a group of businesspeople representing US companies in Turkey, Koumoutsakos said that it was because of this position that the Cypriot government suggested that 259 million euros be given to the Turkish Cypriots, despite the fact that these funds were supposed to be released by the EU in case of a solution.

Koumoutsakos said ''the Greek side supports the need for economic cooperation and growth in the northern part of the island as well,'' adding that Greece continues its support for the reunification of the island and the solution of the Cyprus problem.

He pointed out, however, that ''any actions or measures towards this direction, which is the right direction, cannot be made outside the framework of UN Security Council decisions on the Cyprus problem.''

Koumoutsakos explained that it was on this basis that Greece viewed the business delegation's trip to the occupied areas of the island.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. In April 2004 referenda, the Greek Cypriot community rejected the proposed UN settlement, while the Turkish Cypriot community accepted it.

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