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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Charities reassure over Ethiopia aid
Ethiopian child
Aid agencies say supplies will reach those affected
Aid agencies have reassured potential aid donors to drought-hit Ethiopia that their money will not fund the country's war with Eritrea.

UK Development Secretary Clare Short confirmed on Sunday that government long-term aid to the east African nation had been reduced because of concerns the money would be "used to subsidise arms spending".

"People should never be made to pay for their governments devoting resources to a war," she added.

But aid agencies are now seeking to clarify the difference between long-term government financial assistance and emergency relief raised through appeals.



It is late, but not too late, and it is vital we keep the pressure up with aid

Oxfam spokesman

Ethiopia's bitter border dispute with its northern neighbour Eritrea has exacerbated problems caused by the drought, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stricken by famine.

Oxfam said its relief operation, directed mainly towards bringing food and medical supplies into Ethiopia, could not be diverted to fuel the conflict.

Spokesman Charles Walker said: "We are concerned that people are clear the emergency aid we are talking about should carry on whether or not there is a war, and that it will reach the people in need.

"What we are saying is that it is that it is late, but not too late, and it is vital we keep the pressure up with aid."

A spokeswoman for the British office of the UN children's agency Unicef backed the message.

She said: "We are regularly in contact with out office in Ethiopia and they assure us there is no evidence of any resources being diverted to the war effort.

"All Unicef money definitely goes to the people in need."

Ms Short did stress that the reduction in the UK's programme of long-term aid to Ethiopia had been balanced by a significant increase in emergency relief, which was provided "unconditionally to those who are suffering".

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Talking Point
Ethiopia: Too late to avert catastrophe?
05 Apr 00 | Africa
UN to distribute Ethiopia aid
04 Apr 00 | Africa
Aid to Ethiopia 'too slow'
04 Apr 00 | Africa
Ethiopia: 'Too little too late'
31 Mar 00 | Africa
Why is famine back again?
04 Apr 00 | Africa
EU famine relief for Africa
03 Apr 00 | Africa
Disaster threatens in Ethiopia
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