Accra, May 21, GNA - The US Government has contributed an additional 88.3 million dollars to the United Nations High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR) in support of its 2004 Annual Programme. A statement made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday by the Office of State Department, said the Secretary of State Colin Powell announced this during a meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr Ruud Lubbers in Washington.
It said they discussed opportunities for the return home of refugees in several countries where prospects for peace were taking hold, particularly in Africa and Afghanistan. They also discussed UNCHR's operations in Chad, Sudan, and Iraq. The statement said the money would assist in meeting the needs of more than 20 million refugees and the largest single amount of 44 million dollars would be directed to Africa and the second largest amount of 18.3 million dollars to South Asia.
Other beneficiary areas would be Europe, seven million dollars; Near East 1.5 million dollars; East Asia, three million dollars; Western Hemisphere, 2.7 million dollars and Global Operations and the Headquarters 11.8 million dollars. The statement said this would bring the total US contribution to the UNCHR in 2004 to about 247 million dollars. The UNHCR is a key US partner in critical international humanitarian policy endeavours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere. The substantial allocation for Africa reflects the continued concern of the US for the needs of the millions of refugees in Africa, the statement said.