Egeland is in charge of UN’s emergency relief coordination after the tidal wave disaster in South East Asia. At a press conference Monday Egeland responded to a question regarding the rich countries contribution to the emergency work;
«I don’t understand why they are so stingy. If a country donates 0.1 or 0.2 percent of GDP in foreign aid, I don’t think that is particularly generous.»
The statement annoyed the US and on «American Morning» aired on CNN, Powell rebutted the criticism.
«The US is not stingy,» declared Powell.
The US annually donates 0.13 percent of GDP in foreign aid, even though the UN has made a request that all rich countries should donate 0.7 percent. However, this number does not include aid to Iraq and Afghanistan, nor does it include the food aid where the US is the largest contributor.
«We are working hard to help and comments like these do not reflect what we do,» said one spokesperson at the American State Department to Reuters.
Egeland said Tuesday that he had been misunderstood.
«I have been misinterpreted when I yesterday said that my belief that rich countries in general can be more generous,» Egeland stated. «This has nothing to do with any particular country or the response to this emergency. It is still early, and the aid so far has been positive.»
«The international aid has arrived as promised from the US, Europe, and countries in the region have also been very generous,» Egeland stated.