Scots Kashmir aid effort praised in European Parliament

15 November 2005
The work of Scotland's aid organisations and the response of Scottish Asian communities to the earthquake in Kashmir have been praised in a debate held today in the European Parliament.

Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith, speaking in a debate on responses to the Kashmir earthquake commended Scotland's Asian communities for their continued efforts to ensure those affected by the quake received the food, water, shelter and essential support that will be needed this winter.

Speaking in the Parliament Mr Smith said

"The generosity of spirit of Scots Asians has set us politicians a challenge and as one of Scotland's politicians in Europe I want to see the EU and EU member states match their generosity."

"With winter approaching the problems in this region are desperate. The EU has already made an impressive start in assisting with aid but we must redouble our efforts."

"Long term of course, there is no substitute for a viable political solution to the problems of Kashmir and we in the EU must stand ready to assist in this process."

After the debate Mr Smith said

"It is getting increasingly worrying that the death toll is still rising and some people still do not have adequate food and shelter as winter is setting in.

"The moves by the Pakistani and Indian governments to open border crossings is a positive step and I hope a solution to the political situation can emerge from this crisis."

"However the immediate problem is the need for more aid and supplies and I hope today's debate will have increased the pressure on EU government's to provide as much support as they can and to live up to the example set by the communities in Scotland that have given so much support to the people of Kashmir."