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Annan welcomes pledges by United States, United Kingdom for emergency aid for Africa

Annan welcomes pledges by United States, United Kingdom for emergency aid for Africa

Kofi Annan
Joining the leaders of the United States and United Kingdom today in their call to the international community for increased emergency funding for "people in acute need in many parts of Africa," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan thanked the two Governments for their own new pledges of assistance.

According to a UN spokesman, he noted, however, that "emergency aid is in no way a substitute for action both at country and global level to ensure that African economies overcome the many obstacles which impede their participation in an expanding world economy."

On the appeal, the spokesman said, "The Secretary-General welcomes the joint initiative by the United States and the United Kingdom appealing to the world donor community for a significant increase in emergency funding for Africa."

"The Secretary-General also welcomes the specific pledges of approximately $674 million of additional resources by the United States and $300 million by the United Kingdom to respond to humanitarian emergencies in Africa. He encourages other nations to follow with their own contributions," he added.

Mr. Annan urged the richest industrialized countries, the Group of Eight (G8), to translate their focus on African needs into action at their meeting next month in Gleneagles, Scotland, and at the General Assembly summit in New York in September, the spokesman said.

They would do this by doubling long-term development assistance as recommended in his report, "In Larger Freedom," and in the draft outcome document circulated late last week by Assembly President Jean Ping, of Gabon, on UN reform and on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), designed to reduce or eliminate a host of socio-economic ills.

Meanwhile, devastating, long-term opportunity costs result from the failure to fund humanitarian aid programmes sufficiently and are paid by those who can least afford them: impoverished communities ravaged by violence or suffering from the effects of famine or drought, the spokesman quoted Mr. Annan as saying.