Afghanistan

Foley Statement on Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

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"The United States today joined other Security Council members in approving a humanitarian flight to transport medicine to Afghanistan for Doctors Without Borders," said James Foley, deputy press spokesman at the U.S. Department of State on December 15.
The shipment of medicine to Afghanistan is not prohibited by UN Security Council Resolution 1267 that calls on the Taliban to expel Usama bin Laden to a country where he can be brought to justice for the alleged bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, said Foley. "The resolution does not prohibit humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. Medical supplies are clearly humanitarian assistance."

Until Bin Laden is apprehended, said Foley, the resolution prohibits flights by Ariana Afghan Airlines and freezes Taliban bank accounts and other financial assets.

The U.S. has already donated $70 million in 1999 for humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people noted Foley. "We are considering further emergency humanitarian assistance," he said noting that the one-day delay in granting permission was due to technical reason and to insure that the flight was designed to be humanitarian.

Following is the text (transcript) of the remarks:

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US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
December 16, 1999

STATEMENT BY JAMES FOLEY, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN

The United States today joined other Security Council members in approving a humanitarian flight to transport medicine to Afghanistan for Doctors Without Borders.

UN Security Council Resolution 1267 calls on the Taliban to expel Usama bin Laden to a country where he can be brought to justice. Until they do so, the resolution prohibits flights by Ariana Afghan Airlines and freezes Taliban bank accounts and other financial assets. The resolution does not prohibit humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. Medical supplies are clearly humanitarian assistance.

The United States supports the provision of such assistance to the Afghan people. Indeed, the U.S. has already donated $70 million in 1999 for humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. We are considering further emergency humanitarian assistance.

The one-day delay in granting permission for the Doctors Without Borders request was for technical reasons, including the need to ensure that the flight is being used for the purpose intended. These concerns are being quickly and satisfactorily addressed.

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)