Extract from the Summary in English of the Press Conference Delivered by the Spokesman on February 16, 2000
The Spokesman has announced
Zoltán Taubner, Chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Hungarian Representation to the Council of Europe today addressed and informed the Committee of Ministers of the cyanide pollution on the Tisza river.
His speech is part of the comprehensive efforts of the Hungarian diplomacy to draw the attention of international organisations, international environmental protection organisations and that of the public opinion and decision makers to the gravity of the environmental and economic damages caused by the cyanide pollution in Hungary and Romania.
Zoltán Taubner appealed to the solidarity of the member states of the Council of Europe for help and assistance for the restoration of the environmental and economic damages. He confirmed that Hungary will claim compensation for the damages caused by the pollution from those responsible. He emphasised, Hungary firmly believes that one of the main tasks in preventing tragic environmental disasters in the future is enhanced co-operation. He appealed to all member states, and in particular to our neighbors to enter into enhanced co-operation, without delay, in the environmental field, making full use of the expertise and legal instruments of the Council of Europe.
Hungary provided information to various international organisations concerning the situation. Hungary also contacted the Environmental Programme of the UN, the UNEP, which has its headquarters in Nairobi, and the European directorate in Geneva. Last week the UNEP announced it was ready to provide expertise and technical assistance. According to our latest information, on behalf of the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Director General of the UNEP, Klaus Töpfer, the Head of the Balkan Task Force of the UNEP, former Finnish environmental minister Pekka Haavisto will visit the countries that suffered damages and inspect the conditions of the environmental catastrophe on site. Klaus Töpfer promised to send an expert group of the Balkan Task Force from the Serbian Danube-section to the Tisza, so that the experts can assess the damages personally. Töpfer emphasized that possible assistance by European Commission and the efforts of the UNEP should be co-ordinated. On behalf of the UNEP, Pekka Haavisto will be responsible for co-ordination as well. Klaus Töpfer reiterated that the UNEP is ready and capable to provide assistance in all technical and international legal aspects of the situation.