Shashi Tharoor clarifies: Met UN officials in personal capacity, consulted Kerala CM over phone before meeting

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Updated: August 22, 2018 3:36:38 PM

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday clarified that his meeting with United Nations officials to discuss relief work in flood-affected Kerala was carried out in a personal capacity.

shashi tharoor, shashi tharoor un visit, tharoor foreign visit, tharoor, tharoor un visit, kerala floods, floods ion keralaTharoor’s office said that the “meeting was done in a personal capacity”

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday clarified that his meeting with United Nations officials to discuss relief work in flood-affected Kerala was carried out in a personal capacity. Speaking to the Financialexpress.com, Tharoor’s office said that the “meeting was done in a personal capacity”, though the MP had spoken to the chief minister prior to the meeting to put forward any of his suggestions or questions. The Thiruvananthapuram MP had earlier said that he had consulted the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the matter. However, the chief minister’s office later issued a statement and said that Tharoor was not their representative, leading to confusion and a controversy.

In a press release, Tharoor’s office said that the MP held high-level briefings with the United Nations officials Michael Møller, Under-Secretary-General and Director-General, UNOG (UN Offices in Geneva) and with Deputy Director and Chief of Emergency Programmes of OCHA, Deputy Directors General, Peter Salama (Emergency Preparedness and Response), Soumya Swaminathan, (Programmes). Tharoor also met Peter Maurer, President, the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The MP issued a number of conclusions and recommendations from his meeting, which include:

– State Govt could examine whether it requires a Multi-sector needs assessment by UN agencies (WHO, UNICEF, OCHA);

– Depending on whether the quantum of long-term reconstruction assistance from the Central Govt is adequate, the State Govt could give thought to holding an international reconstruction conference to `Rebuild Kerala better` in partnership with the UN system so that significant international assistance in reconstruction can be facilitated;

– State Govt could request for the 2 million WHO stock of anti-cholera vaccines to minimise the risk of grave water-borne diseases

– Since the Government of India does not wish to request international assistance directly, it is entirely feasible to operationalize any and all of the above by negotiating with the UN system to have the UN offer what we need, on a no-objection basis from the GoI.

“Landed in Geneva to meet w/@UN & international humanitarian agencies for consultations on Kerala Floods,” Thaoor had said tweeted. “While seeking help is the prerogative of the Govt of India, I am here, in close consultation w/ @CMOKerala @vijayanpinarayi, to explore what help could be possible if sought,” he had tweeted.

India has reportedly denied receiving any sort of international help for Kerala floods. Earlier too, the government had denied international aide at the time of Uttarakhand floods in 2013.

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