THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Orlando, Florida) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release September 9, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
The President has directed a drawdown of $20 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance fund to provide relief to refugees and displaced persons at risk due to the crisis in Kosovo.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced due to Serb attacks on Kosovar Albanian villages. These new funds will be used for food, shelter and other relief supplies provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program, other UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations. In particular, the monies will provide a major portion of the international community's response to a UN consolidated humanitarian appeal for $54 million.
The current U.S. contribution is in addition to $11 million in emergency assistance already provided, as well as commodities and equipment donated since the onset of the current crisis.
While we will continue our efforts to increase the humanitarian relief effort and ensure a visible international presence in locations where Kosovars return, we emphasize that responsibility for humanitarian suffering rests squarely with the Serb authorities. It is essential that they halt security force operations against the civilian population, enter into a serious dialogue with the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian community, and create the conditions necessary to ensure safe return of displaced persons to their homes.
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