18 January 2005

New Executive Board President
countries must fulfil relief commitments

New York- 18 January 2005

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

The new President of the UNICEF Executive Board, Ambassador Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi of Iran, has urged all of those who pledged money to the tsunami relief effort for the Indian Ocean region to make good on their promises.

Ambassador Danesh-Yazdi assumed his new role on 17 January, replacing the outgoing president, Ambassador Lebohang K. Moleko of Lesotho.

He was selected by the Asian group of states to be president of the Executive Board for 2005 and compares the tragedy in the Indian Ocean with the Bam earthquake which levelled the ancient city exactly one year earlier.

“The scope of the tragedy is so wide it’s beyond my explanation. It brought back the painful memory of the Bam earthquake. We sympathized with those people, we’ve had the same feelings,” Ambassador Danesh-Yazdi said.

“[The Bam earthquake] prompted a response and offers of assistance but now over 13 months have passed since the tragedy and not all of the assistance has materialized. Indeed a lot has not,” he said. “The experience of Bam when many countries made a lot of commitments and promises should not be repeated for the tsunami and earthquake in the Indian Ocean. If a country makes any commitment I believe that commitment has to be fulfilled at the right time, on time.”

Ambassador Danesh-Yazdi told international delegates at the first 2005 session of the Executive Board that the world presents “enormous challenges for children,” including poverty, HIV/AIDS and exploitation.

“Children all over the world expect us to do something serious and meaningful. We are dedicated to fulfil the job entrusted to us,” he said.

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