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Focus on Central and Eastern Europe has a new title which reflects a broader area of interest. In addition to information concerning the former Eastern bloc, it now includes initiatives for the 12 independent states which formerly constituted the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Although the overall goal of assistance to these countries is to support political and economic reform, the immediate objective is to help people survive the shock of change and stave off shortages of basic necessities.
Because of the enormous needs of these newly independent states, assistance requires global cooperation and support.
Operation Provide Hope
Twelve flights on Monday, February 10, inaugurated a 17-day airlift by the US European Command to relieve the most critical needs of cities in the 11 new democracies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). A total of 2,200 tons of supplies was delivered, including 395 tons of medicines and medical consumables.
Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, was on hand in Frankfurt, Germany, for the departure of the first US Air Force C-141 and C-5A cargo planes destined for Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; Kiev, Ukraine; Minsk, Byelarus; and Chisinau, Moldova. He said that American flights could not hope to "stock all the emergency pharmacies of Ukraine, Uzbekistan, or Azerbaijan. But these flights will provide emergency food and medical supplies. And, above all, they will carry a dramatic message of hope to the peoples of the new independent states."
Besides the five flights from Frankfurt, seven flights departed from two airfields in Turkey for destinations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. During the following 16 days, the US Air Force repeated the same-day, round-trip flights until the cargo assembled from US military depots in Europe and the United States reached 24 destinations in the CIS. The United States thereby fulfilled its offer to finance the transport of humanitarian goods donated by other governments. Several nations in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Latin America also contributed to the international effort.
Quick-reaction teams were deployed to 24 recipient sites to make contact and coordinate with local government officials, airport managers, and members of the press in order to determine needs. They also selected recipient institutions and …