Council conclusions on the earthquake in Haiti - Extraordinary foreign affairs council meeting Brussels, 18 January 2010

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The Council adopted the following conclusions:

1. The European Union expresses its sincere and deepest condolences, sympathy and solidarity to the people of Haiti, of other nations and to the staff of international organisations, including the UN, for the massive loss of life and devastation caused by earthquake on 12 January, adding to the already fragile situation of the country. We share the grief of the families of those tens of thousands who have died and express our heartfelt sympathies to those who have been injured in this catastrophe.

2. In view of the proportions of the disaster and as a gesture of its solidarity with the victims of the earthquake, the High Representative in close coordination with the Spanish Presidency and the European Commission convened this extraordinary session of the Foreign Affairs Council (Foreign Affairs/Development and Humanitarian Aid) to underline the importance of the need for a rapid, coordinated response based on the humanitarian principles and to consider actions required in the course of next weeks and months.

3. The Council welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Haitian authorities and civil society, as well as by the UN, the Red Cross movement, other bilateral donors such as the US, the OIF and NGOs to bring aid to the people of Haiti, and pays tribute to the work of relief organizations and individuals from across the Union. The Council commends the Dominican Republic for the role it is playing in this crisis. The EU remains ready to provide assistance to the Dominican Republic.

4. The Council welcomes the global response to this crisis and strongly supports the central and overall coordinating role of the United Nations in the international relief effort.

5. The Council was briefed on the Union's response to the earthquake and the efforts to save lives and alleviate suffering. The Council welcomes the swift response by the European Union and by Member States in rapidly providing humanitarian emergency assistance and deploying humanitarian and civil protection experts from the Commission and the Member States, as well as efforts by Member States in the area of consular cooperation. The first priority has been to dispatch urban search and rescue teams, including military and civil engineering capabilities, the current focus being to provide emergency health, water and sanitation, medical facilities, shelter, logistics, telecommunications and food. The Council underlines the need for adequate security on the ground to ensure safe and unhindered access of aid deliveries. The EU and its Member States stand ready to provide additional assistance on the basis of the ongoing needs assessment, including military and civil assets, as appropriate, responding to the UN request.