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US business delegation arrives in Turkish occupied areas
2005-02-17 11:50:44

Nicosia, Feb 17 (CNA) -- A US business delegation arrived today in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, through an illegal point of entry, for contacts with Turkish Cypriot businesspeople.

After the arrival of the delegation, president of the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce Ali Erel said the trip gave a ''very clear message'' that there were no obstacles for business activities in the occupied areas, noting that ''a new process has started that may lead to a Cyprus settlement.''

The delegation arrived at the illegal airport ''Ercan'' at Tympou, accompanied by US Embassy commercial attache in Ankara Aner Kayani.

Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has condemned the visit of the US business delegation to the Turkish-occupied areas, stressing this move could not contribute to the improvement of Cyprus-US relations.

He said the Cyprus Republic has already made all necessary representations.

Referring to trade with the occupied areas, President Papadopoulos said the Cyprus Republic encourages contacts between the two communities as long as they take place within a legal framework.

In statements at illegal "Ercan" Ali Erel, who received the US business delegation arriving from Turkey, called on the Greek Cypriot side ''to stop preventing the development of the Turkish Cypriot side and help towards its economic growth.''

Erel said the US delegation would have a series of meetings with Turkish Cypriot businesspeople and described this as ''a good start.''

He said that the trip indicated there were no problems in travelling directly to the occupied areas, adding that there was no reason to maintain the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

Replying to questions, Erel said the trip would spur similar visits by other countries.

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