High Commissioner wraps up United States visit
High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers wraps up his three-day visit to the United States today with meetings with non-governmental organizations in Washington, DC. On Thursday, the High Commissioner held meetings at the State Department and on Capitol Hill.
On Wednesday, the High Commissioner and US Secretary of State Colin Powell met at the State Department. The High Commissioner and Secretary Powell discussed the ongoing humanitarian operations in Afghanistan and West Africa, where Mr. Lubbers recently visited Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The High Commissioner reiterated his hope that refugees be included in the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a project targetting democracy-building, poverty-reduction and development in Africa being drawn up by African leaders. Secretary Powell and the High Commisioner also discussed the conditions necessary for a potential repatriation of refugees to Iraq.
Secretary of State Powell ended the meeting with an announcement of a US contribution of US$85 million to UNHCR for 2003. Of this amount, US$10 million will go specifically towards the Afghanistan programme. The additional funding will be distributed throughout UNHCR's world-wide annual programme activities, including: US$34 million for Africa, US$13.5 for Europe, and US$15.2 million for South Asia. This contribution brings the total US contribution to UNHCR to $258 million for 2003.