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Expo leadership plays down loss of funding

Expo boss Nelly Wenger: the organisers are playing down the loss of sponsorship (file picture: Keystone)

(Keystone)

The leadership of Switzerland's planned national exhibition, Expo.02, is playing down the news that two major sponsors are pulling out.

The decision by the merger telecommunications firm, diAx/Sunrise, to withdraw its support is the latest blow to the exhibition, which has been dogged by difficulties since its conception.

Expo's artistic director, Martin Heller, said he regretted the decision, but believed new funding could be found for the two projects which diAx/Sunrise was to have sponsored.

"Of course, we take no pleasure whatsoever in this decision," Heller said. "But there is still a chance - both exhibits are very attractive and have the potential to attract other sponsors."

The telecommunications firms said the decision was taken in the light of their plans to merge.

"It is important now to focus on the joint future of our two companies," diAx/Sunrise spokesman Monika Walser said.

DiAx had been expected to fund the "Instant Happiness" marriage pavilion, where couples would come to exchange their vows, while Sunrise was backing a hi-tech exhibit.

There are now doubts about whether either project will go ahead.

Expo 02 has experienced huge problems in attracting the necessary funding, and its management was forced to postpone the planned start by one year to 2002.

swissinfo with agencies


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