Vienna, 10 August 2004 - At today's meeting of the Ministerial Council a motion tabled by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to increase Austria's humanitarian aid for the Darfur crisis region in Sudan was adopted. Austria had already pledged 200,000 euro in emergency humanitarian aid for the displaced population at a United Nations donors' conference held on 3 June 2004. An additional one million euro will now be added to this sum. Minister for Foreign Affairs Ferrero-Waldner: "I have been closely following the developments in Sudan for a long time now. I have spoken out repeatedly and forcefully, both within the EU and in my talks with the UN Secretary-General and other key figures in the international community, to ensure that the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is afforded the consideration it clearly demands. Today's decision by the Austrian federal government is a further important contribution, which will at least help to alleviate the most urgent needs of the affected women and children".
The Foreign Minister pointed out two priorities in Sudan at present: the peace talks between the government in Khartoum and the rebels had to be continued and the so-called Janjaweed militias must be disarmed without delay. Furthermore, the protection and support of the displaced population were of supreme importance: "Today we have made an important contribution towards relieving the greatest needs. We are not indifferent to the suffering of the affected refugees. But we will not stop here; we will continue to monitor this humanitarian crisis very closely and take all steps that are necessary", concluded the Minister for Foreign Affairs.