HC Deb 21 May 1985 vol 79 c854
Q4. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Prime Minister what progress has been made in implementing the plans agreed at the Dublin Common Market summit on the transporting of food aid from Common Market stockpiles to Ethiopia and Sudan; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Ethiopia has received about 144,000 tonnes of cereals from the European Community and its member states since the beginning of this year, and Sudan about 93,000 tonnes. Sudan has also received about £8 million worth of other food from the Community.

Mr. Taylor

In view of the highly publicised pledge by the Dublin summit to deliver 1. million tonnes of food aid to the drought areas of Africa, including Ethiopia, before the autumn harvest of 1985, is it not disappointing and disturbing that the total amount actually delivered to Ethiopia so far, with only five months to go, is 144,000 tonnes, which is less than the amount that we send to the Soviet Union and east Europe every week? Will the Prime Minister do all in her power to ensure that the Common Market keeps its pledge to assist starving Africa, particularly when other countries, such as the United States, have responded magnificently and promptly?

The Prime Minister

Yes. As I told my hon. Friend in a previous reply, progress has been slower than we would have wished, but the matter has been taken up with the European Commission. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development will take it up once again in Brussels at the meeting on 23 May. We are anxious that the process of food arriving in Ethiopia is speeded up. There are problems of distribution when it gets there, which also need attention.

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