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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
US congress approves anti-drugs aid

The United States House of Representatives has rejected proposals to cut funds for a controversial foreign aid package aimed at helping South American countries fight the illegal drugs trade.

Legislators defeated a number of attempts to curtail President George W Bush's plan, which is worth more than $670m.

The money is to be used to eradicate drug plantations, encourage the production of alternative crops, and promote peace and stability in Colombia and the Andean region.

Democrats had criticised the package, saying it represented a further step towards US military intervention in the region.

The plan - also known as Andean anti-drug initiative - is part of a foreign aid bill which includes proposals for economic assistance to countries of the former Soviet Union, Egypt and Israel.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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