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Cablegate: Haiti: Greece Seeking to Provide Humanitarian Assistance And

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTH #0043 0280951
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280951Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1400
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS

UNCLAS ATHENS 000043

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PREF EAID ECON HA GR
SUBJECT: HAITI: GREECE SEEKING TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND
RESETTLE ORPHANS

REF: STATE 6918

1. Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis convoked
Ambassador Speckhard January 25 to explain Greece's increasing
frustration with not getting a Greek humanitarian flight
expeditiously into Haiti, and the political fallout this was having
for the new government in the Greek media and among the public.
Kouvelis sought assurances that the February 8 date assigned to the
Greek 747 humanitarian flight by the Haiti Operations Coordination
Center was firm; the ambassador reassured Kouvelis that we would
work to make that happen. Kouvelis stressed that Greece wanted to
be responsive, that the shipment represented a bold new effort at
private-public partnership and that the Greek government was trying
to encourage more Greek citizens to participate in such efforts and
to help strengthen a weak Greek civil society in the process.

2. The Minister said that as a result of the changing needs on the
ground, Greece would drop its SAR component and send about 50 tons
of humanitarian and medical assistance along with 80 medical
personnel. He added that Greece plans to work with UNICEF to
evacuate up to 300 Haitian orphans for adoption in Greece, which
would be facilitated by the Greek Orthodox Church. The ambassador
cautioned that all international conventions must be followed to
allow the transportation and eventual adoption of the Haitian
orphans, and promised to provide Kouvelis' staff with information
that should help Greece to navigate the international legal
process. Kouvelis said Greece stands ready to assist in any way
deemed critical by the United Nations or Haitian authorities.

3. Separately, the ambassador delivered reftel demarche points to
Kouvelis, underscoring that U.S. relief and recovery efforts are at
the request of the Haitian government. Both the ambassador and DCM
also made similar statements to the Greek media January 22, which
were reportedly factually in weekend newspapers.
Speckhard

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