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US to Give Financial Aid to Turkish Cypriots

Turkish Cypriots will receive $30.5 million (€25 million) in aid this year from the US in order to help ease their isolation following the rejection of a UN peace plan by the Greek Cypriots in April.

The announcement from the US comes a few days after the European Commission proposed establishing direct trade between the EU and the Turkish Cypriots and offered a financial assistance package of €259 million for the period 2004-2006. The US on Thursday welcomed the European Commission proposals, which now have to be approved by EU member states. "We look forward to the measures being implemented, in particular with regard to trade from the north because that can help support the eventual reunification of the island," US State department spokesperson Richard Boucher said. The Greek Cypriot government, however, has threatened the Commission with legal action over its proposals saying they are politically motivated. The majority of Greek Cypriots rejected a UN peace plan on 24 April, denying the much poorer north EU membership benefits when the island joined the EU bloc on May 1. Cyprus has been divided since 1974. (EUobserver.com)

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