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National Archives

Public Papers - 1992

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on Additional Humanitarian Aid for Somalia


The growing suffering and mass death by starvation in Somalia is a major human tragedy. The United States Government and other international donors have already made significant contributions to alleviate this manmade famine. Because armed bands are stealing and hoarding food as well as attacking international relief workers, the primary challenge that the international community faces is the delivery of relief supplies.

The United States will take a leading role with other nations and international organizations to overcome the obstacles and ensure that food reaches those who so desperately need it.

On Thursday, we announced our offer to transport U.N. troops to enhance security for food deliveries in Mogadishu. Today, the President is announcing the following additional measures:

1. The Defense Department will begin as soon as possible emergency airlift operations to deliver food. We are asking the Kenyan Government to join us in supporting airlifts to northern Kenya for Somali refugees and drought-stricken Kenyans and to locations inside Somalia where there is sufficient security to support these relief operations. We are also examining other means of delivering food to Somalia.

2. Ambassador Perkins at the United Nations will begin immediate consultations to seek a Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of additional measures to ensure that humanitarian relief can be delivered.

3. We are also proposing that the United Nations convene a donors conference to include representatives of the major Somali factions so that their cooperation can be gained. Such cooperation would be the most important step to accelerate delivery of relief supplies and minimize security problems.

4. The President has also directed that an additional 145,000 tons of American food be made available for Somalia.

5. Finally, to ensure that all U.S. relief activities are properly coordinated, Andrew Natsios, Assistant Administrator of AID for Food and Humanitarian Assistance, has been appointed as Special Coordinator for Somali Relief.

The President calls upon other nations to join us in this urgent and important effort to alleviate starvation in Somalia.

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