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Public Papers - 1992 - May

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on Humanitarian Assistance to Refugees in Yugoslavia and the Caucasus


The United States will contribute million for humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced people in the former Yugoslavia and million for humanitarian assistance to victims of conflicts in the Caucasus region of the former Soviet Union. This includes the new Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

The situation in the Yugoslav former republics has created the largest movement of persons in Europe since the end of World War II. The total number of refugees and displaced persons in Yugoslavia, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has now reached 1.3 million. Over 480,000 persons, mostly Slavic Muslims, have fled Bosnia and this number is growing daily. Six million dollars of this contribution will go to the UNHCR in support of its programs to assist refugees and displaced persons, especially those in Bosnia and Croatia. Three million dollars will go to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in support of its efforts to aid the victims of the terrible conflict now raging.

This million contribution is in addition to earlier contributions this year of million. The United States also launched an emergency airlift of food and other relief assistance to aid war victims in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Five planes flew into Sarajevo carrying blankets, food, and medical supplies.

The United States contribution for victims of conflicts in the Caucasus will be given to the ICRC in support of its humanitarian aid to war victims, refugees, and other vulnerable groups, especially in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Over the past 2 years, the Caucasus has experienced an increase in ethnic strife leading to armed conflicts in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and in the South Ossetian area of Georgia.

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