Archive for the ‘aid’ Category

American Aid Worker Slain in Pakistan

November 12, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An American aid worker involved in a U. S. government program to bring development to a lawless tribal region of Pakistan was assassinated in his car Tuesday morning as he went to work in the provincial capital, Peshawar.

The American, Steve Vance, and his Pakistani driver, were shot as their car approached the house in Peshawar where Mr. Vance ran a project to bring small-scale projects and jobs to the Federally Administered Tribal Area, a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, his associates said.

Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in ... 
Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in September. Gunmen shot dead a US aid worker and his driver in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar on Wednesday, the US embassy and police said.(AFP/Pool/File/Aamir Qureshi)

The United States Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that an American citizen and his driver were killed in an attack in Peshawar. The embassy was coordinating with local law enforcement agencies to determine what happened, a spokesman, Wes Robertson, said.

By Jane Perlez
The New York Times

Pakistani officials in Peshawar said they did not know who was responsible for the shooting at around 8 a.m. in a residential area of the city known as University Town. The killings came after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded sports stadium in the center of Peshawar Monday night, moments after leading politicians of the city had left the arena.

The umbrella Taliban group, Tehrik-i-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the stadium attack.

Mr. Vance worked for part of an ambitious program run by the United States Agency for International Development to bring $750 million of development projects to the tribal region over five years, according to his associates who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the incident.

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Six Months after Myanmar Cyclone, Rebuilding Lags Due To Government Hastles

November 2, 2008

After the cyclone devestated Myanmar last May, the military junta governing the former Burma was so uncooperative and unhelpful that even international aid groups were delayed and hastled….

From the Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar – Six months after Cyclone Nargis smashed into Myanmar‘s coastline, killing tens of thousands of people, aid groups say once-lagging relief efforts have picked up pace but the task of rebuilding and recovery is far from finished.

Foreign aid staffers were initially barred from cyclone-affected areas and the ruling military junta was criticized for its ineffective response to the May 2-3 disaster. During a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in late May, it agreed to allow in some foreign aid workers and formed a “Tripartite Core Group” made up of the government, the U.N. and Southeast Asian countries to facilitate the flow of international assistance.

A Buddhist monk walks over the remains of his cyclone-destroyed ... 
A Buddhist monk walks over the remains of his cyclone-destroyed monastery in Kaunt Chaung. Six months since Cyclone Nargis lashed the secretive state of Myanmar – killing 138,000 people – the initial despair over the ruling junta’s inaction has been replaced by cautious optimism that more aid is reaching the country’s needy, the UN has said.(AFP/File/Lisandru)

Despite the slow initial response, “the relief effort for the first six months has been successful,” said Ramesh Shrestha, the representative in Myanmar for UNICEF, which has coordinated aid to women and children. “However, we cannot stop now.”

The U.N. said in a statement issued Sunday on behalf of the Tripartite Core Group that “there is a continued need for emergency relief, as well as support for early and long-term recovery efforts.”

Only 53.3 percent of the $484 million in relief money sought by a U.N.-coordinated appeal has been raised, it said.

The official death toll is 84,537, with 53,836 others listed as missing. Some 2.4 million people were severely affected by the storm, with the total damage estimated as high as $4 billion.

A major pressing issue is how survivors will be able to support themselves.

Recent visitors to the Irrawaddy Delta, the area worst hit by the storm, report that most cyclone victims have cooking utensils, mosquito nets and other basic necessities. But they express concern about opportunities to earn enough money to buy food.

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North Korea: “massive long-term malnutrition”

October 17, 2008

SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea is willing to give the North unconditional food aid but the communist state must fundamentally change its system to end massive long-term malnutrition, a senior official said Friday.

Chief nuclear negotiator Kim Sook also said a decade of engagement under previous liberal Seoul governments had largely been a failure.

This photo released by the World Food Programme shows a mother ... 
This photo released by the World Food Programme shows a mother holding her malnourished twins in a hospital in Hoiryong City, in North Hamgyong Province in June 2008. South Korea is willing to give the North unconditional food aid but the communist state must fundamentally change its system to end massive long-term malnutrition, a senior official said Friday.(AFP/WFP/File)

He was speaking a day after the North threatened to cut all ties with the South in protest at what it termed a hostile policy by the new conservative government.

“The real solution to the chronic food shortage is North Korea’s commitment to fundamental change. However, there is little sign the North is moving toward the right direction,” Kim told a seminar in the southern island of Jeju.

He said “structural inefficiencies” had contributed to “massive malnutrition” which left children aged under 14 almost 14 centimetres (5.6 inches) shorter than their South Korean counterparts.

Kim said the current Seoul government had offered Pyongyang unconditional food aid but it had refused to respond to an offer of 50,000 tons of corn.

He described the food shortage as serious but said it was unlikely to become a full-blown famine, as in the mid- to late 1990s.

The South formerly provided the North with some 400,000 tons of rice a year but the North has not requested the aid this year as relations soured.

Pyongyang has already cut almost all exchanges in protest at conservative President Lee Myung-Bak‘s decision to link economic projects to progress in nuclear disarmament.

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China vows to help cash-strapped Pakistan

October 16, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – China vowed Thursday to do what it could to help cash-strapped Pakistan avert financial disaster as Islamabad’s leader continued an official visit aimed at rustling up crucial Chinese investments.

The promise came as Premier Wen Jiabao met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who is on his first official visit abroad after being elected in September.

“As a long friend of Pakistan, China understands it is facing some financial difficulties,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

An employee counts Renminbi banknotes at Bank of China branch ... 

“We’re ready to support and help Pakistan within our capability.”

Zardari met Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Wednesday in a meeting in which the two sides pledged to strengthen decades-old ties and signed 11 bilateral agreements, one on unspecified economic cooperation.

The Financial Times newspaper has reported, without citing sources, that Zardari would seek a soft loan of between 500 million and 1.5 billion dollars from China to help Pakistan avoid looming bankruptcy.

However, Qin offered no specifics on the form that Beijing‘s financial help would take.

China’s state news agency Xinhua late Thursday released the full text of a joint statement between China and Pakistan which covered economic cooperation and foreign policy issues but was short on details.

“Pakistan appreciated the strong support and assistance provided by the government and people of China to Pakistan in its economic development,” the joint statement said.

Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Masood Khan, said earlier this week in an interview with Pakistan television station Geo an agreement on a civilian nuclear pact with China could be reached during the trip.

But Qin declined to give any details….

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China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

October 15, 2008

China has realized for years that Pakistan is a neighbor of strategic importance.  India is China’s number one regional revial and pakistan is India’s traditional foe.  China has supported Pakistan in its nuclear ambitions and probably assisted Pakistan in nlang range missile development — often using North Korea as a proxy.  China and akistan are also completing the largest seaport in the world at Gwadar, Pakistan….

Tarique Niazi, The Jamestown Foundation, China Brief

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.Although the Gwadar Port project has been under study since May 2001, the U.S. entrée into Kabul provided an added impetus for its speedy execution. Having set up its bases in Central, South, and West Asian countries, the U.S. virtually brought its military forces at the doorstep of China. Beijing was already wary of the strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, which supplies 60% of its energy needs. It was now alarmed to see the U.S. extend its reach into Asian nations that ring western China. Having no blue water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies. This vulnerability set Beijing scrambling for alternative safe supply routes for its energy shipments.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart ... 
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari stand near their respective country’s flags during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
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JF-17 testing.jpg
Above: JF-17 Thunder jet is a product of Pakistani and Chinese cooperation.  It is now in service in the Pakistani Air Force.

The Chinese do not easily forget old friends and do pardon some indiscretions on the part of the friend. Beijing gratefully remembers that it was Pakistan which facilitated the secret talks between China and the USA leading to establishment of diplomatic relations. Pakistan is also a security frontier for China in more ways than one.   
Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

The China-Pak special relations were built by the leaders of the two countries, especially the anti- India disposition of the Pakistani leaders and army, which filted eminently with China’s South Asia strategy with a common cause. 

The periodic Pak-US alliance has been both useful to Beijing and, at times, an irritant. During the Cold War the three formed an anti-Soviet axis. After the demise of the Soviet Union, China saw the US interest in Pakistan detrimental to its security. During his visit to Pakistan in 1996, Chinese President Jiang Zemin clearly indicated that USA should not meddle in South Asia. The message was clear to Pakistan also. 

Even after removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharrif, Gen. Musharraf maintained excellent relationship with China. Following the US attack on Taliban in Afghanistan Musharraf is reported to have made a secret visit to Beijing only for a few hours to consult with the Chinese leaders. 

In a rather surprising, but understandable reaction, the China Radio International (CRI)….

 Shaheen 01.jpg
Pakistan’s Shaheen missile

By Bhasker Roy 

Although the Chinese leaders and policymakers have been forced by India’s economic development and vibrant international relations to acknowledge New Delhi’s position in regional and international platforms, Pakistan continues to remain its main centre in South Asia. 

Beijing has invested its most in Pakistan for very pertinent reasons. China is to refer to North Korea relations as “lips to teeth”. Pakistan was its “time tested ally and friend” and an example of relations between two countries. While these expressions have changed along with new post cold war global alliances and dynamics, the importance of Pakistan to China has not diminished. If fact, it has increased in terms of China’s security calculations including energy security. 

In the last decade, China helped Pakistan as a stand alone nuclear power, invested $ 2.2 billion in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port (GDSP), and helped it in trying to maintain military parity with India. Traditionally, the Chinese military sales have been at “friendship prices” and out right assistance. The Gwader Port is a gift. The F-17 Thunder advanced fighter aircraft being jointly built and produced at Kamra is basically Chinese mode.

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Pakistan’s Zardari Asks China for Aid

October 15, 2008

“A strong China means a strong Pakistan.”

By Shai Oster and Jason Leow in Beijing, and Matthew Rosenberg in New Delhi
The Wall Street Journal

Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari began a four-day state visit to China on Tuesday, seeking aid for his near-bankrupt nation from an increasingly powerful ally.

Chinese honour guards march past Beijing's Tiananmen Square ... 
Chinese honour guards march past Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during an official welcome ceremony for Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, outside the Great Hall of the People October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)

“China is the future of the world,” Mr. Zardari, widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, told Chinese state news agency Xinhua on the eve of his trip. “A strong China means a strong Pakistan.”

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Vietnam: The Importance of “One UN” Initiative

March 30, 2008

Overview: According to recent U.N. reports, In Vietnam…

“The UN, at country level, is fragmented,with built-in inefficiencies, and that the development impact of the UN’s work would be enhanced if planned, implemented and monitored better together. The question was not ‘should the UN reform’, but ‘how do we reform’ to achieve the best results for those the UN is here to serve:

the Government and people of Viet Nam.
Flag of the United Nations

Considering incrementalism the worst enemy of innovation, an ambitious reform vision was drafted. The objective of the One UN Initiative was to establish a One (integrated) United Nations. The paper outlined the necessary UN reform measures within the context of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and its contextualization in Viet Nam, the Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness (HCS).

The HCS calls on donors to align to national development strategies and national systems, to reduce the transaction costs associated with delivering ODA, to focus more on managing for development results and to establish systems of mutual accountability.

The Prime Minister [of Vietnam] was closely engaged in the One UN Initiative for a transformed UN, integrating the participating Agencies, with unity of purpose, coherence in management and efficiency and effectiveness in operations.

He approved the ‘Agreed Principles, Objectives and Instruments’ to achieve One United Nations in Viet Nam and the Terms of Reference for the Tripartite National Task Force (TNTF). The TNTF, comprising of the Government Aid Coordinating Agencies, representatives from the donor community and the participating UN Agencies, was charged with the responsibility to advance UN reform by providing effective oversight of the process, and to operationalize the roadmap….

From: VietnamNetBridge
March 30, 2008

Vietnam attaches great importance to reforming United Nations development activities, one of which is the “One UN” Initiative, a Vietnamese diplomat has affirmed.

Permanent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh made the statement at a consultation meeting of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “System-wide Coherence” and the implementation of “One UN” Initiative held in New York on March 28.

“Vietnam shares the position of the Group of 77 that the “One UN” initiative, like any other in the process of UN development cooperation reform, should ensure the ownership and leadership of the host government and be flexibly tailored to suit the specific conditions and circumstances in each individual country,” Minh said.

According to the Vietnamese diplomat, while the initiative is meant to improve the efficiency of UN development assistance, “it should not be considered a substitute for adequate resources which are essential to development assistance itself.”

The deputy minister also pointed out many complicated tasks that remain to be completed, including both the implementation of mutually agreed plans and the solution of technical issues concerning the management and execution of programmes of UN agencies.

“That necessitates a strong consensus among UN agencies as well as their adequate and active cooperation for the common goals of the “One UN” initiative,” he said, emphasising that “the Government of Vietnam appreciates the cooperation extended to the country by UN agencies and other development partners in these reform efforts and looks forward to receiving their continued valuable support.

Vietnamese deputy permanent representative to the UN
Ambassador Bui The Giang stressed that “as a responsible member of the UN, Vietnam holds that participation in and contribution to its reform is a must-do obligation with a view to bringing about a new and stronger vitality to this organization which will in turn yield greater benefits to its members.”

The “One UN” Initiative is being carried out on a trial basis in eight countries: Albania, Cape Verde, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uruguay and Vietnam.

(Source: VNA)

US tones down praise for Musharraf

March 15, 2008
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Just months ago, the United States publicly championed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as an “indispensable” ally.

 Pakistan President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf is see in this undated ...

Now, officials barely mention the man the Bush administration
once promoted as essential to holding together a nuclear-armed country deemed crucial to the U.S.-led fight against extremists in South Asia.

The new tone comes as the United States works to gain the favor of Pakistani opposition forces that won big in last month’s parliamentary elections and as Musharraf’s grip on power weakens. The newly empowered politicians are promising to reinstate fired judges who had questioned the legality of Musharraf’s continuing in office.

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North Korea denies it diverted food aid to its military

February 22, 2008

(AP) North Korea on Thursday denied suggestions it diverted food aid intended for its hungry citizens to its military, calling the charges a plot by South Koreans opposed to its communist government.
Last week, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said border guards had observed front-line North Korean soldiers unloading hundreds of sacks bearing the logo of the South Korean Red Cross, which is responsible for rice aid shipments to the North.

North Korean soldiers walk on the north part of the Joint Security ...
North Korean soldiers walk on the north part of the Joint Security Area at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone in Paju, 42 km (26 miles) northwest of Seoul, that separates North Korea from the South as a group of journalists attend a media tour organised by the United Nations Command February 20, 2008.

Ministry officials said they presumed the sacks contained rice aid, but were unable to confirm it. Rice aid is normally delivered by sea, not along the land border.

The alleged rice aid diversion “is something that never actually occurred and should….

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Bush cited for aid to Africa

February 17, 2008

By Jon Ward
The Washington Times
February 17, 2008

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Africans showered President Bush with praise yesterday for the billions of U.S. dollars spent to help fight disease and poverty, while administration officials threatened sanctions against Kenya if its president does not compromise in that nation’s political crisis.
Mr. Bush, who will send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to meet tomorrow with leaders in Kenya, said during his first stop, in the small West African nation of Benin, that the U.S. desires “that there be no violence, that there be a power-sharing agreement that will help [Kenya] resolve its difficulties.”
A Bush administration official said on the condition of anonymity yesterday that Miss Rice would tell Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki that continued U.S. support for his regime is contingent on whether he agrees to a power-sharing arrangement.

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