Venezuela

Letter from Minister Dini to the Foreign Minister of Venezuela

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Rome, 2 January 2000 - In a letter addressed to his Venezuelan counterpart, Rangel Vale, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini, has reaffrimed Italy's commitment to making an active effort to assist the populations hit by the serious natural disaster that has claimed many victims and caused massive material damage in the country. In his letter, Minister Dini announced that following the provision of initial emergency aid, the Italian government intends to provide further initiatives to assist reconstruction.

The Italian contribution to assisting the people and rehabilitating the infrastructure damaged by the floods will be coordinated by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It will include, over the coming weeks, 10 billion liras of funds to the UNDP that will activate operations in the worst hit areas using Italian NGO's; a donation of food aid worth 2.5 billion liras that will reach Venezuela shortly; a humanitarian flight that will arrive in Caracas tomorrow, January 3, with medicines and basic goods worth around 500 million liras; and the use of emergency funds at the OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) to send foodstuffs, tents, blankets and clothes for a total of 80 thousand US dollars.

Minister Dini also arranged for former Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ludovico Incisa di Camerana to carry out a mission to Venezuela. He will arrive in Caracas today to identify, together with the Venezuelan authorities, the needs and priorities of the reconstruction phase. Following this mission, a group of experts from the Italian Development Cooperation office will be sent to the country to coordinate Italian aid at the operational level.