Cyprus to take part in EU special meeting on SE Asia disaster
Nicosia, Jan 4 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou will take part in an extraordinary meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels to be held on Friday, 7 January, called by the Luxembourg Presidency to address the consequences of the tidal wave in southeast Asia.
Iacovou told CNA that Cyprus has acted in time by sending humanitarian aid to the countries stricken by the tsunami triggered by the massive 9 on the Richter scale quake in southeast Asia, and mobilising the public opinion.
The Brussels meeting will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the Council of the European Union, Jean Asselborn. The ministers for development cooperation and the ministers of health of the European Union will also take part in the meeting.
The Council will hear a report from the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Jean-Louis Schiltz, and the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, who have travelled to the region hit by the tidal wave.
The European ministers will prepare the donor's conference due to take place in Geneva on 11 January 2005 under the auspices of the United Nations. On the basis of a report by the Commission and information provided by UN representatives, the ministers will assess the emergency relief efforts undertaken by the EU and the Member States. They will also consider the mid- and long-term action of the EU in close cooperation with international organisations.
Asked if Cyprus will take part in the donor’s conference, Iacovou said that at the moment, “we have done all we could”, adding that Cyprus’ participation in the conference will be examined in due course.
The Cyprus Cabinet has approved a total of 370 thousand dollars in humanitarian aid for the tsunami disaster. At the same time, a number of local humanitarian organisations, political parties, banks, businesses and groups have undertaken to collect money and provide medicine, foodstuff and clothing, which will be dispatched to the affected areas.