Global Policy Forum

US To Deliver Food Aid to Eritrea

Associated Press
March 27, 2000

Nairobi - The United States will deliver food aid to Eritrea for the first time since July 1998, when the government seized US food aid destined for Ethiopia, a senior US aid official said Monday. The US State Department halted the delivery of emergency food aid to Eritrea since 45,000 tons of US grain meant for starving Ethiopians was confiscated by Eritrean authorities.

Hugh Parmer of the US Agency for International Development said the State Department had lifted the ban, and the agency would provide the northeast African country with 41,000 tons of food this year. US officials are still negotiating with Eritrea to resolve the issue of the confiscated food aid. The 45,000 tons of grain was worth about $4.5 million and was taken from Eritrea's Red Sea port of Assab.

Parmer is meeting officials of the Rome-based UN World Food Program after completing a two-week tour of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti to assess the needs of some 15 million people threatened by food shortages brought on by prolonged drought. He said he was trying to establish a "humanitarian corridor'' between Ethiopia and Eritrea that would enable aid agencies to bring food assistance to Ethiopia through the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa.

The ports were the main routes for humanitarian assistance for landlocked Ethiopia before the border war between the Horn of Africa neighbors broke out. To get large amounts of emergency food into Ethiopia, aid agencies have been using the port of Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden. But they fear it will be unable to cope with the estimated 120,000 tons per month that will be shipped in from mid-April.

More Information on the Eritrea and Ethiopia Conflict


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