A day after UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said his country had not announced “any specific amount as financial aid” for flood-hit Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan maintained on Friday that there was “no confusion over the aid”.
Speaking to mediapersons, the Chief Minister said: “There is no confusion over the aid from UAE. The issue was discussed between two persons. The UAE ruler has spoken to our Prime Minister. Both parties have communicated that matter to the world. Whether to accept it or not is an issue of our country. I still hope that the assistance will be accepted.”
Vijayan said that when Keralite businessman M A Yusuff Ali of the Lulu Group went to offer Eid greetings, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan conveyed that “he had spoken to the Prime Minister about the decision to give financial assistance to Kerala”.
“When I asked Yusuff Ali whether we can make this public, he told me there was nothing wrong in doing so,” said Vijayan.
Earlier this week, Vijayan said that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, offered Rs 700-crore assistance when he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone. He had said that Yusuff Ali had communicated this to him.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Thursday, UAE Ambassador Albanna said: “The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don’t think it is final, since it is still ongoing.”
Asked if he meant that the UAE had not announced Rs 700 crore in aid, he said: “Yes, that is correct. It is not yet final. It has not been announced.”
In an interview to The Indian Express on Wednesday, Vijayan, citing his state’s special bonds with the emirates, said the “UAE cannot be considered as any other nation”. Hours later, the Ministry of External Affairs practically ruled out the UAE offer by underlining India’s policy on “meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts”.