Additional Australian support for humanitarian efforts in Iraq

Report
from Government of Australia
Published on 20 Mar 2003
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA 03 015

I announce today that Australia will provide a further $7.5 million to assist in preparations for humanitarian relief operations in Iraq.

This new assistance brings the total of our humanitarian preparedness contribution to $17.5 million. We have previously allocated $10 million to UN humanitarian agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross for humanitarian assistance planning and preparation.

The new funding will help agencies including UNICEF, UNHCR and selected Australian NGOs with experience in the region, to support vulnerable communities, particularly Iraqi women and children, and to establish refugee facilities in Jordan.

Australia will also be providing highly qualified Australian aid personnel to fill key positions in international humanitarian agencies.

Australia has a proud record of providing humanitarian assistance and emergency aid and Australians can be reassured that we will make significant further contributions towards humanitarian assistance.

With our international partners, we are also actively seeking to ensure that the suspended UN Oil-for-Food Programme can be resumed as quickly as possible to meet vital humanitarian needs in Iraq.

We support a strong UN role in post-conflict Iraq, and we welcome the commitment made in the Azores statement by the US, UK and Spanish leaders which foreshadowed a significant role for international institutions, including the UN, in reconstruction, humanitarian relief and supporting a transitional post-conflict administration in Iraq.

Contacts:

Chris Kenny (Minister's office) (02) 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890
Jo Elsom (AusAID) (02) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489