Saturday, August 28, 2010

India may send aid to Pakistan through UN

India may send aid to Pakistan through UN

New Delhi/Islamabad, Aug 28 (IANS) India is likely to send its aid to flood victims in Pakistan through the United Nations, as sought by the Pakistan government Saturday.

'Once Pakistan accepted our offer, then we were working out the modalities. If Pakistan wants us to send it through UN, we have no problem with that,' said a senior official in the Indian ministry of external affairs in New Delhi.

Earlier, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told Pakistani news channel, Dunya TV: 'We have conveyed to India that they can send their aid to us through UN,' noting the UN was the flagship organisation for all foreign aid pouring into the country from different parts of the world for flood-hit people.

India offered an aid of $5 million to assist the rehabilitation of over 20 million displaced people in Pakistan following flash floods that started July 28 and continue to rock the infrastructure across the country. More than 1,600 people have died this month.

Pakistan had earlier shown reluctance to accept the Indian offer.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani Aug 19 to reiterate the offer. Finally, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed to media in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's special session, Aug 20 that Pakistan has decided to accept the offer.

The gesture was widely welcomed. Later the Pakistani prime minister sent five boxes of mangoes to Manmohan Singh to say thanks.

Despite the lapse of more than a week since accepting the offer, Pakistan and India could not agree on the modalities for transporting the aid material. Finally, Pakistan decided against accepting the Indian offer directly Saturday and the same was conveyed to the Indian government.

'We have asked them to hand over this assistance package to the UN organisations who are working in India as well,' Abdul Basit said.

He, though, expressed reluctance to give any reason for this diplomatic snub. 'We have appreciated the offer but it'll not be appropriate to publicly discuss the reasons involved in deciding to route it through UN,' he said.

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