May 26, 2005, 0:33 GMT

First U.S. group signs CORE document

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- The Chernobyl Children`s Project International became the first U.S. organization to sign the CORE document in a Wednesday ceremony at the Belarus Embassy.

CORE -- Cooperation for Rehabilitation of living conditions in the Chernobyl affected regions of Belarus -- has been signed by many European countries.

CCPI Executive Director Kathy Ryan signed the document in Washington D.C., saying it is a way for her organization to strengthen their community-based approach of helping victims of the Chernobyl disaster. CCPI focuses on providing medical aid to the children affected by the disaster.

"After-effects of the Chernobyl accident continue to affect lives of almost every Belarusian -- and will for many generations to come," said Belarus Ambassador Mikhail Khvostov. "The international community has already done a great deal to help Belarus, but it is crucial that support should continue."

Pavel Shidlovsky, counselor in the Belarus Embassy, said CORE establishes programs that provide long-lasting effects, such as building plants to create jobs or creating medical facilities instead of Belarus accepting humanitarian aid that will be consumed and lost.