The government will hold a cross-ministerial meeting to discuss the nation's role in post-war reconstruction in Iraq, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Richard Shih (石瑞琦) said yesterday.
The ministry will invite the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the China External Trade Development Council and other government agencies to explore post-war reconstruction possibilities in Iraq, Shih said.
Shih also reiterated three principles for the country's participation in relief work and post-war reconstruction in Iraq.
"We'll act according to our ability, put domestic procurement first and then endeavor to forge international cooperation," he said.
Shih said there was still a great deal of uncertainty about the length of the war and what aid would be needed afterward, so it was difficult to estimate the amount of cash the government would spend.
The government has vowed to offer up to NT$150 million worth of aid to the Iraqi people, although it has yet to work out how the aid will be distributed.
Shih's remark came after US Deputy Secretary State Richard Armitage told a US Congress subcommittee last Thursday that Taiwan was one of the countries that had already offered financial support for humanitarian aid in Iraq.
"We have a number of countries [who have] already stepped up and publicly said they want to participate with money ... in post-Saddam Iraq," Armitage told the House appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations.
"Taiwan, Japan and the EU have indicated a certain amount of money to go forward in humanitarian [aid] right away, and that could be hospitals," Armitage was shown as saying in a video available on the C-Span Web site.
Armitage made the statement when a female member of the committee asked him to clarify the sources of funding for post-war reconstruction in Iraq.
US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Andrew Natsios, who also testified to the subcommittee, said USAID has more than 200 staff working on humanitarian and reconstruction planning for Iraq.
"The UK has pledged US$22 million, Japan has pledged US$12.5 million and the EU has pledged 21 million euros, with a further 79 million euros being identified for humanitarian relief," Natsios said.
USAID has made a US$2.44 billion supplementary request to the subcommittee in an attempt to create what Natsios called a "flexible new account."