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?
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