Skip to comments.Tsunami 'Core Group' of Relief Nations Disbanded
Posted on 01/06/2005 5:44:18 AM PST by flitton
JAKARTA (Reuters) - An effort by the United States, Japan, India and Australia to coordinate tsunami relief will be disbanded and folded into broader U.N.-led operations, Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday.
The group's creation was announced by President Bush just eight days ago as he tried to dispel criticism that the initial U.S. response to the catastrophe was slow. Some analysts saw it as an effort to appear engaged.
But U.S. officials said the group, later expanded to include Canada and the Netherlands, had already served its purpose by jump-starting aid efforts to devastated regions following the Dec. 26 tsunami that barreled into 13 countries around the Indian Ocean and killed close to 150,000.
"The core group helped to catalyze the international response," Powell told a tsunami relief conference in Jakarta. "Having served its purpose, the core group will fold itself into the broader coordination efforts of the United Nations."
Other diplomats have suggested there was concern that if the huge relief effort breaks down, the United States would prefer not to be in the lead role where it might get the lion's share of blame.
In the wake of the unprecedented disaster, Bush was criticized for taking three days to speak publicly about it and for the initial U.S. financial aid of $15 million.
The U.S. pledge has since been raised to $350 million -- a figure Powell said Washington would consider raising as the needs become clearer. He said the U.S. Congress has shown a willingness to "do more" but, unlike Germany and Australia, he did not unveil any new money ahead of the Jakarta meeting.
"None of us knows" how much more money will be needed, Powell told reporters later. "So I think it's frankly prudent to be careful with respect to these numbers."
He also stressed Washington has sent an aircraft carrier and 18 other ships as well as 40 cargo and patrol aircraft and more than 50 helicopters to the region "at considerable additional expense" to ferry food and water to survivors.
A State Department official said the U.S. military in the region would "coordinate closely" with the U.N. on providing airlift and other logistical help for the relief work but would not be under U.N. command.
The core group has held daily phone meetings with U.N. officials but at the time it was formed analysts wondered whether its work might conflict with the United Nations, which is coordinating aid from some 40 countries. Aldo Borgu, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra, said the idea quickly outlived its usefulness. "I think it was a fairly knee-jerk reaction, that the industrialized world should be seen to be helping," Borgu said. "Subsequently it has become redundant." U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in Jakarta for the aid conference, expressed gratitude for its work but insisted on the primacy of the United Nations in organizing relief work.
"Without that essential contribution it would have been extremely difficult for us to get to those in need," he said of the military contributions by the United States, and quick relief efforts by India, Singapore and Australia.
Powell agreed the U.N. would have "a lead role" on aid efforts but said others may take the lead elsewhere, suggesting that a U.S. military task force recently set up in Thailand may coordinate work among the many military forces in the area.
Powell said he discussed the issues with Annan in Jakarta and hinted at some impatience to see the U.N. take charge, saying: "We talked about the need for the U.N. agencies -- if they are going to play that coordinating role -- to get on the ground and start playing it."
(Additional reporting by Jerry Norton in JAKARTA and Paul Tait in SYDNEY)
Gee, true Reuters work.
The core group was just a show, the US wants to avoid blame, blah blah blah . . .
What a crock.
"The group's creation was announced by President Bush just eight days ago as he tried to dispel criticism that the initial U.S. response to the catastrophe was slow. Some analysts saw it as an effort to appear engaged."
Don't you love Reuters?
Now the thieving starts.
Looking forward to Condi taking the reins, Powell is FARRRRRRRRRRRR to weak-kneed and diplomatic.
Powell, SHOULD have say that we'd disband the core nations IF Kofi stepped down.
I had a feeling that the UN would basically take over...that's why my husband and I haven't donated one thin dime! HOW can anyone trust the UN when this Oil for Food scandal hasn't even been thoroughly investigated? These guys are salivating at all that money they can pilfer!!
What the f*ck is going on with this administration? Where is the strength of leadership? If we can't stand up to the UN, how is this country ever going to take a stand against Islam?
"What the f*ck is going on with this administration? Where is the strength of leadership? If we can't stand up to the UN, how is this country ever going to take a stand against Islam?"
ping for reference
I don't think that money is the problem anymore although the writer of this article sure seems to love "the deep pockets." The issues are in transport, logistics, personel, equipment, materials, etc. Amassing vast pools of money won't make these other factors go away.
Evidently, this is the "cut-and-paste" line that will appear in every story concerning the U.S./Tsunami news cycle.
Looks like the ole bait and switch. Lead people to believe the UN is NOT part of it...gain momentum and then just hand it over to the CROOKS!! I haven't and will not give one cent to a MUSLIM nation anyway!! You can't BUY the respect of your enemy nor can you conquer an enemy by paying them. Did anyone see any Muslim nations donateing money to 9/11? STUPID..this country gets dumber by the day.
I'm not as pessimistic as some about this. I think the core group was/is a good idea but the last sentence leads me to think that this is not the end. How about this for a scenario; the core group steps aside (while carrying on the work they are doing), the UN starts co-ordinating, the UN isn't able to deliver the goods and is forced to ask the core group for help. Thus showing it's real abilities.
If/when the UN screws this one up, 'fraid GW will take part of the blame....unfortunately for us.
He's a coward. Didn't you learn anything from the first four years of deficits, of amnesty for illegals, of even more open border policy?
Makes you wonder what took so long, doesn't it?
I hope you are right, because this and the policy of calling Islam the "religion of peace" and of sending funds to the Palestinian Authority...it all looks a lot like appeasement.
If this is not all part of a very clever strategy, we are in big trouble.
And so is Israel.
Very true, but there is one other factor you may not have considered. What if the goal here is not to get help the victims, but simply to weaken the United States?
If that's the case, then it's succeeding admirably.
Public money sent to Malaysia et al is money that won't be spent on buying more helicopters, transport planes, and other equipment needed by our military. Private contributions will not be spent on things that build up our Country.
And diverting our military from their proper goal of protecting America for another clintonian meals-on-wheels program weakens us in several ways.
The Core group was essentially a crisis council of the most able & willing nations which was established to firstly deliver rescue & relief to the affected nations & set the infrastructure for starting rehabilitation.That has been done by all 4 members of the group & other nations admirably.But the US or Australia cannot stay involved in this region for long-there are both practical & political limitations here.The Indian navy cannot be delivering aid & reconstructing powerlines in Sri Lanka & the Maldives for the next 6 months.The blunt fact is that the UN is the only organisation which can manage anything like this,however disastrous it's performances have been.The Coregroup will move away for volunteers or other nations to do the job-it's not a pretty sight,but it's the only practical solution.
Moreover,the Coregroup stayed together till the Jakarta conference-that means a lot.In other words,they had a big say in how much was necessary for each affected region & how funds were distributed.So while the UN uses the funds,the Core Group & the rest of the world can in theory keep a watchful eye out for things.This is different from the aid conference for Afghanistan or Darfur,where the UN organised the conference & they essentially vetted the funding allocation.While there is still a big chance of corruption,the UN cannot be unscrupolous.
......reminds me of Powell leaving Sadam in charge 10 years ago, and look what THAT cost the world in pain and suffering!
This is a very good point. Ask liberal breast beaters what government programs should be cut to the bone in order to free up more funds for tsunammi relief. The answers would be interesting.
It was all a plot!...or it was because we were the only ones capable of doing it and there was a need.
Indonesia has asked Australia to oversee their redevelopment...the UN is saddened...We do not have the relationship with them the Aussies do..We and the Aussies have led the way and the world knows it..
Agreed...the world is predominantly secular and Muslim (as is the UN)...the UN and the world it represents will not be satisfied until the U.S. is the same (which is why is world wanted Kerry to win).
Any compromise is pure appeasement.
And by making the UN leadership look like the ineffectual fools they are.
The aid will continue to flow, and in the same way it has been going. The point has been made. ;o)
Why do you think the President has asked folks to donate to PRIVATE organizations? They don't have anything to do with the UN, and those thieves won't get their hands on any of THAT money.
We gave to Mercy Corps, because Sir SuziQ's company matched the donation, and Catholic Relief Services because we're familiar with their work, and they've been in Indonesia for years, so they know the needs of those folks.
Was Powell the President then??
Your screen name is well-chosen.
While there is still a big chance of corruption,the UN cannot be unscrupolous.
Wanna Bet? The UN does what ever it wants and there are no consequences.
check out my home page and you will see its source.
I don't bet online!!I never said there won't be corruption,but the current arrangement will not give the UN the legroom it usually has.
I am so glad Powell is stepping down, what a jerk.
And, coincidentally, the terrorists attacks could begin at any time.
Let's see how the U.N. handles being terrorized. Let's count the days before the U.N. blames President Bush and then begs for help.
"An effort by the United States, Japan, India and Australia to coordinate tsunami relief will be disbanded and folded into broader U.N.-led operations, Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday. "
Another diplomatic "triumph" for that loser.
I can't wait for Rice to replace him.
Sounds like it worked to shame the UN in getting off its dead a$$, put down their lattes and get to work.
I don't bet online!!
I double dog dare ya!! roflo
That's exactly what I thought when I read this! Easier for Kofi, Kojo, et al., to siphon money to their Swiss bank accounts!
The United States has been at the head of this parade for the last 3 weeks; they never set that up to run the aid; they set it up to get it started, since the UN was sitting around twiddling their thumbs.
Now, which is it: do you want the U.S. to take charge of the ENTIRE reconstruction -- and pay for it -- or just get the foundation laid and let somebody else run it?
And in case you missed it, one of OUR guys is right up at the top of this U.N. effort; he was appointed yesterday.
I guess I did miss it...who and what position?
Everybody knows we're once again in the forefront. Reuters hates it. The UN hates it. The folks being helped know who's there to help -- and they know that we're there every damned time.
It never ceases to amaze me that so many of our fellow FReepers wringing their hands and twist their knickers over Reuters' nasty comments.
What a spineless $#&@*($#@.
Now don't make me look that up......LOL.....I'm trying to watch Leahy lecturing Gonzalez.
I'll look in a bit.
But you didn't answer my question: do you want the United States to take FULL responsibility for the aid and the reconstruction?
Why would you conclude that if it were not the UN, ALL the responsibility would fall to the U.S.?