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Cablegate: Tfha01: Danish Response has Broad Backing

VZCZCXRO0520
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHCP #0050/01 0281547
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281547Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5456
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COPENHAGEN 000050

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/NB, EUR/ERA, HAITI TASKFORCE 3
USEU BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL PGOV DA HA
SUBJECT: TFHA01: DANISH RESPONSE HAS BROAD BACKING

COPENHAGEN 00000050 001.2 OF 002


(U) SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED--NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Danish Government is determined to
allocate as much as needed for Haiti relief efforts.
Contributions totaled approximately USD 23 million by
January 26; distribution is being coordinated closely
with the UN. Extensive and successful private
fundraising activities continue; as of January 22,
approximately USD 7.7 million had been collected. The
Danish Foreign Minister criticized the slow pace of the
EU response but did not criticize U.S. efforts. After
some local criticism of the Danish response, political
consensus appears to be emerging on the level and pace
of government contributions. END SUMMARY.

LARGE-SCALE DANISH CONTRIBUTION TO HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS
--------------------------------------------- ----------

2. (U) The Danish Government continues to pledge to
respond to all UN requests for assistance to Haiti.
In total, the Danish Government's contributions to
Haitian relief efforts amounted to almost USD 23 million
as of January 26. Private donations totaled
approximately USD 7.7 million as of January 22. The
Danish Government response is being spearheaded by
Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Toernaes,
who on January 14 announced the Danish Government's
initial contribution of USD 1.9 million to UN relief
operations in Haiti. Responding to early opposition
claims that the Government was doing too little too
late, Minister Toernaes left an important internal
cabinet seminar to make a strong response in the media
that the Government stood ready to allocate whatever
was needed, but insisted on awaiting directions from
the UN. The MFA subsequently announced on January 16
the allocation of an additional USD 7.55 million, half
or the UN and half to Danish relief NGOs.

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE REACHES ALMOST USD 23 MILLION
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (U) In addition to USD 1.9 million for
miscellaneous assistance to NGO programs, Minister
Toernaes on January 20 announced an allocation of
USD 3.77 million for UNICEF and UNFPA relief
programs, which brought the total Government
allocation to Danish Kroner (DKK) 80 million,
equivalent to approximately USD 15.1 million. She
also announced that the Government made immediately
available Denmark's annual contribution to the UN
disaster relief fund and the UNWFP, in the amount of
DKK 150 million, or USD 28.3 million. Minister
Toernaes announced on January 25 that the Government
has allocated USD 1.14 million for an additional
tent camp project for UN relief workers jointly
sponsored with other Nordic countries, plus USD 0.950
million for special UNFPA projects. Finally, emerging
from a coordination meeting with the principal relief
NGOs on January 26, Minister Toernaes announced the
allocation of an additional USD 5.65 million for UN
programs. The combined Government donations thus total
nearly USD 23 million.

PRIVATE FUND-RAISING EXCEEDS PUBLIC ALLOCATIONS
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (U) By January 22, the estimated combined fund-raising efforts by
the principal relief and development NGOs
(Danish Red Cross, UNICEF Denmark, Save the Children,
Doctors without Borders, etc.) amounted to DKK 41
million, or approximately USD 7.7 million, which at
that point was approximately 50% more than the
total public allocation (we do not have updated
figures for private funds raised). Private
fund-raising activities continue in close cooperation, especially
with electronic media organizations.
The largest corporate donation is an offer by Maersk
Group to make two ships available free of charge for
transport of aid to Haiti, in addition to free usage
of Maersk-operated terminals and containers for aid
destined to Haiti.

FOREIGN MINISTER CRITICIZES EU EFFORTS, BUT NOT U.S.
MILITARY
--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. (U) Emerging from an EU ministerial on January 25
in Brussels, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller
came out strongly critical of the EU performance,
specifically that it took a week before the EU
development ministers convened for their first
planning meeting, and almost two weeks for the EU to
decide on deploying 350 police officers to help deliver emergency
supplies. Explaining that Denmark will
contribute neither soldiers nor police officers to
Haiti, he still supported the EU line: "It is not a
military task to protect emergency relief. The EU
therefore wants the UN to take over responsibility from
the American military," while insisting that this is in
no way a criticism of the rapid U.S military response.

CONSENSUS BUILDING ON GOVERNMENT ALLOCATIONS
--------------------------------------------- ----------

6. (SBU) On January 20, the Government's initial
commitments were met with demands from a united front
of center and left opposition parties that the
Government allocate at least as much as was given to
the tsunami relief efforts 5 years ago, which amounted
to DKK 420 million, approximately USD 80 million. To
this, Minister Toernaes responded: "We are far from
having full knowledge of the extent of the disaster,
so this does not make sense. We follow the situation
closely and are constantly in touch with the UN system
.... It is not my impression that more money is the
greatest need right now, rather ensuring that the relief
gets out." With no new criticism of the Government on
this issue since, and considering the additional
allocation, it appears that broad political consensus is
being established on the appropriate level of Danish
Government support. Certainly for now, the opposition is targeting
its criticism of the Government at other
issues.

FULTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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