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Press Release
Jean Asselborn in consultations with tsunami-hit countries of Southeast Asia

Date of release : 04-01-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

In the wake of the tidal wave of 26 December in Southeast Asia, Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the Council of the European Union, has conferred with his counterparts from the affected region regarding the relief and reconstruction efforts undertaken by the international community, and by the European Union in particular.

On 3 and 4 January, Jean Asselborn had telephone conversations with the ministers for foreign affairs of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Mr Asselborn made the following statement after his conversations:

  • I have conveyed our sincere condolences to the ministers of foreign affaires of the most affected countries and assured my colleagues that the region can rely on the solidarity of the European Union. The ever growing death toll, the devastation that has been caused by the tidal wave, the magnitude of the natural disaster that has hit South-East Asia are still hard to apprehend.
  • In preparation of the extraordinary meeting of the Council of the European Union that the Presidency has called for 7 January, we are in close contact with the United Nations and its agencies, which have to assume the overarching coordination role in the affected region.
  • The extraordinary ministerial Council aims at making a first assessment of the ongoing relief efforts of the member states, the European Commission and different international organisations. We will evaluate the further needs of the region and decide on additional support that the EU can provide. The Council will also discuss the long-term reconstruction efforts in the affected region and the establishment of an early warning system.
  • The Presidency intends to coordinate the aid efforts of the EU with the UN, other humanitarian actors and the local authorities of the concerned countries. We have agreed a regular exchange of information with the countries of the region on the latest developments in the field, the priorities of the relief effort and the broader political follow-up.
  • We welcome the organisation of a special ASEAN summit meeting in Jakarta on 6 January, which should contribute to achieving the best possible coordination among all the parties engaged in the relief effort. The Presidency will be represented at the summit by the current President of the European Council Jean-Claude Juncker and the Luxembourg Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Jean-Louis Schiltz.
  • On 11 January, the Presidency and the Commission will take part in the Donors’ Conference in Geneva, where we will announce the response of the European Union to the consolidated emergency appeal of the United Nations, due to be launched on 6 January. In this context, I would like to stress that our solidarity must and will extend beyond the current emergency relief effort, and include a medium- and long-term perspective.
  • Finally, let me say a word on the dimension of the European Union's assistance to date. The financial contributions of the European governments amount – on the morning of 4 January - to around 273 million euros. The people of the European countries have also shown an immense solidarity with the victims of the catastrophe and made large donations to help the victims of this natural disaster. Non-financial contributions of the EU Member States add up to an extra five million euros. 

This page was last modified on : 05-01-2005

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