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Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the assistance currently being given by Her Majesty's Government to help alleviate the famine in Ethiopia.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) on 17 November at columns 480–81 and to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke) on 26 November at column 263. Since then I have announced a £2 million contribution by the British Government to the Ethiopian appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee. This brings to about £25 million the Government's help this year with famine relief in Ethiopia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what ongoing aid in excess of Her Majesty's Government's recent contributions to the Disaster Emergency Committee's appeal is programmed to meet the long-term Ethiopian need.

In the absence of reasonable prospects that the aid would be effective, Her Majesty's Government have no present plans to provide long-term financial assistance to Ethiopia from the bilateral aid programme. We will, however, continue to respond for humanitarian reasons to emergency needs, for which commitments in 1987 now total over £25 million. In addition, we maintain a programme of technical cooperation and have provided funds for rehabilitation following the 1984–85 famine; expenditure on these activities taken together came to about £2·5 million in 1986.