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Government emphasises humanitarian concerns

2 November 2001 Media Statement

Government emphasises humanitarian concerns

The government is exploring with United Nations agencies measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. This re-emphasises New Zealand’s concern over the humanitarian situation, Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Matt Robson said today.

“In addition, as Minister responsible for Overseas Aid I am working with officials to scope a New Zealand plan for both immediate development assistance to the people of Afghanistan through established NGOs, and longer term support working through the United Nations and international aid agencies, says Matt Robson.

“The government is exploring with international agencies how to contribute to the humanitarian aspects of the campaign in Afghanistan.

“With the onset of winter, we want to provide direct support for the thousands of displaced Afghanis in refugee camps which could take the form of sending medical teams and air transport support.

“These people are suffering terribly and there is a very real danger of a humanitarian catastrophe occurring.

“We will work with the United Nations to determine the size and shape of our assistance and to ensure the help is provided to those most in need.

“Alliance Ministers are proud that we have contributed to stressing the humanitarian concerns, says Matt Robson.

Matt Robson hopes to announce details of the overseas aid package in the next week.


ENDS

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