BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — The United States pledged $400
million yesterday to support a U.N. plan for reunifying Cyprus, but
stressed no money would come unless voters on the divided island
approve the settlement in a referendum next week.
Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for
International Development, made the pledge at the opening of a
meeting convened to assess the total needs for Cyprus, which were
estimated at more than $1.7 billion over five years, primarily for
“Absolutely, it’s conditional on a
settlement,” Natsios said. “If they don’t approve
it, there’s nothing to implement.” He said $100 million
would be available “for immediate needs” and the rest
would be disbursed in future budgets.
The pledge was being announced before the vote, Natsios said, to
help assuage the “legitimate fear” among some Cypriots
that the international community might “abandon” the
island financially afterward.
“We wanted to make it clear that that should not be the
basis for people to vote,” he said.
The European Union was expected to announce plans for about $385
million in aid later yesterday.
Recent opinion polls indicate 70 percent of Greek Cypriots
oppose the U.N. plan, while 60 percent of Turkish Cypriots support
The main Greek Cypriot objections are that the plan limits the
right of Greek Cypriot refugees to return, while allowing tens of
thousands of Turkish settlers introduced to the occupied north
since the 1974 Turkish invasion to remain.
Leaders of both sides of the island have rejected the proposal,
but its fate will be determined in separate referendums on April
24. If either side rejects it, EU laws and benefits will apply only
to the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south of the
Greece’s new conservative government expressed cautious
support yesterday for the proposal.
“The positive elements may prove to be stronger than the
negative,” Premier Costas Caramanlis said. “We must not
let the injustices prevent us from looking forward.”
Turkey said yesterday it would launch a worldwide campaign for
the recognition if the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state if Greek
Cypriots reject the U.N. plan. Turkey is the only country that
officially recognizes Turkish Cyprus.