Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-04-12-Speech-3-166"

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"Mr President, Commissioner Patten wonders why Africa’s fateful history keeps repeating itself – with good reason. Millions of people are again threatened with starvation. This is not just caused by extreme drought. The blame lies mainly with the unusually irresponsible leaders who prioritise the fight for a dry piece of land over the suffering of their own people. Surely it is absolutely appalling that the governments of poverty-stricken countries such as Ethiopia and Eritrea buy arms on a massive scale instead of building up sufficient food reserves. The blinkered Ethiopian government, in particular, contributes through its obstinacy to the suffering of its own people. How else can you explain the fact that Ethiopia rejected the offer to use the ports of Massawa and Assab? As a result, aid is now unable to reach a large part of its own population. The Organisation of African Unity and the European Union must exert maximum pressure on the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea to settle their dispute in Algiers, and aid workers must gain safe access to the population without delay. An Ethiopian Minister has said that the international community does not spring into action until the skeletons appear on television. He failed to mention that these macabre images are not only due to a lack of rain but mainly to a lack of proper leadership. I am pleased that Commissioner Patten has addressed the criticism to the effect that European aid is inadequate. Despite this, I would like to ask him what lessons he has learnt from how Europe responded this time round. It is difficult not to despair in the face of the misery in the Horn of Africa. We should nonetheless not lose hope. Nature can only destroy where people fail. After all, war and mismanagement are down to people. Africa’s fateful history does not have to repeat itself, provided that people’s lives take priority over the feuds among its shameless leaders."@en1

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