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Pelosi: President Playing a Shell-Game with Humanitarian Assistance to Africa

Contact: Brendan Daly or Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616, both of the Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON, June 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement this evening in response to the announcement this afternoon by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair of an African emergency famine relief initiative:

"I hoped that President Bush would propose a bold, new U.S. initiative to fight extreme poverty and disease in Africa. Unfortunately, the President responded to Prime Minister Blair's urgent request for more aid to Africa with no new initiatives and no new funding. Instead, the President rejected Blair' request to double current funding for Africa and is playing a shell-game by moving existing U.S. funding for Africa from one account to another.

"The fact is that the $674 million the President pledged today is to be taken from existing humanitarian accounts already designed to produce similar goals.

"As a share of the economy and the budget, U.S. foreign economic assistance currently constitutes only 0.15 percent of our national income. This is well below the share contributed by other industrialized nations. The fight against global poverty is not just a challenge to peace and stability; it is a moral challenge as well. We must address the root causes of instability in the world by working to alleviate poverty so that the fury of despair will not provoke more violence. Our foreign assistance is a means to enhance our security, promote democracy, human rights, and express the compassion of the American people for those that suffer from hunger, disease, and extreme poverty.

"The Group of Eight Summit in Scotland next month will be an opportunity for President Bush to work together with the international community to produce a comprehensive plan for alleviating poverty in Africa. I hope the President does not miss this critical opportunity."


/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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