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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Kinnock attacks famine hero Geldof
Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof raised millions for famine relief with Live Aid
Welsh MEP Glenys Kinnock has accused Live Aid hero Bob Geldof of getting his facts wrong over Europe's efforts to tackle Africa's latest famine.

Mrs Kinnock said Geldof's attack on the European Union's response to the crisis in Ethiopia was "unhelpful and misinformed".

The MEP, who speaks for Labour on international development in the European Parliament, said the EU was providing more than 40% of Ethiopia's food aid and other assistance.

She spoke after Geldof hit out at the "pathetic and appalling" EU reaction while he was on a five-day tour of Ethiopia.

Geldof, the rock singer who organised the huge Band Aid and Live Aid fund-raising events in the mid-1980s, has returned to Ethiopia as a new famine catastrophe looms.

Bob Geldof's comments about the current situation in Ethiopia are both unhelpful and misinformed
Glenys Kinnock

He said Britain and America had been generous, but urged the EU to release food urgently.

"The EU have been pathetic and appalling, and I thought we had dealt with that 20 years ago when the electorate of our countries said never again," said Geldof.

Glenys Kinnock
Glenys Kinnock says criticism of EU famine response is wrong
Mrs Kinnock said that criticism of EU had "all too often" justified and necessary. "However, Bob Geldof's comments about the current situation in Ethiopia are both unhelpful and misinformed," she said.

"He is, of course, one of Africa's champions, and a fine advocate of the need for more international effort and interest in eradicating poverty, and in dealing with, for example, debt, AIDS and food shortages.

EU aid for Ethiopia
109m euros this year
41% of food and other aid
530m euros from 2002-7

"But his description of the European Union's contribution to Ethiopia's current food crisis as 'pathetic and appalling' is simply wrong.

Mrs Kinnock, one of the five MEPs who represent the whole of Wales, said the EU had supported the Ethiopian government since the crisis began last October.

Live Aid
Live Aid concerts took place in Wembley and Philadelphia
"In recent years, both the speed and quality of the response in these circumstances has been significantly improved - and this deserves to be acknowledged - although there can always, of course, be further improvements," she said.

"The European Commission has pledged 109m euros - over 400,000 tons of food aid - for this year alone. 30,000 metric tons of food aid for Ethiopia arrived by boat in Djibouti earlier this month, and a second boat carrying a further 25,000 tons arrived last weekend.

"This is, clearly, neither pathetic nor appalling. The EU is providing 41% of the total amount of food aid and other assistance offered to Ethiopia. Contrary to his assertions, the European Commission does of course supply supplementary food such as cooking oil, as well as non-food items."

Mrs Kinnock said the EU also supported long-term development in Ethiopia, including health and education.

Ethiopia is one of the five poorest countries in the world, with an estimated income of just $100-a-year per person.


SEE ALSO:
Geldof: Ethiopia aid 'pathetic'
27 May 03  |  Africa
Geldof: From singer to saint
27 May 03  |  Entertainment
Geldof headlines music festival
09 Apr 03  |  North West Wales


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