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Accept Indian aid, no role for politics in disaster: US to Pak

world Updated: Aug 19, 2010 09:28 IST
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Asserting that there is no role for politics in disaster response, the Obama Administration has said it expects Pakistan to accept the $5 million aid offer from India for its flood relief work.

"In terms of responding to a disaster, politics should play no role. You have a country (India) that's willing to help (Pakistan), and... we expect that Pakistan will accept," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

Last week, Minister of External Affairs S M Krishna had called on his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi and offered $5 million in aid for flood relief work.

Pakistan, so far, had not accepted the offer while at the same time its leaders have been sending SOS to the international community for more and more aid so as to meet the immediate needs of its millions of flood-affected people.

Nearly one-fifth of Pakistan is now reported to be badly hit by the devastating flood; the worst for the country in 80 years.

Crowley, given the changed circumstance, said the US has began to think about what it would do with that long-term security assistance provided under Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill and that could require the US shifting it from what it thought was a priority three weeks ago to what is a priority on Thursday.

"I think what we'll have to wait and see is what are the mid- to long-term economic needs of Pakistan that we could use that funding to address. I guess we would also consider more immediate needs as they arise," he said.

Frank Ruggiero, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan also asked Pakistan to accept India's aid.

"I think the priority is to use offers of assistance to help the Pakistani people, so we would encourage Government of Pakistan to accept that (Indian) offer," he said.

Ruggiero said that the US would continue to call on the international community to provide the people of Pakistan with the support it needs at this dire time, as the scale of this flood was so dramatic.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Foreign Minister has arrived in New York to attend the special meeting of UN General Assembly on the flood relief work, where he is expected to ask the member states to help Pakistan with more international aid.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would also address the UNGA's special session on Pakistan. She is expected to announce more US aid for Pakistan.

The US so far has provided $90 million worth of aid.