Italy Doesn´t Want Hunger Summit in Rome

Asks U.N. Food Agency to Pick Another Site in Wake of Sept. 11 Attacks

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ROME, SEPT. 25, 2001 ( In the wake of the attacks on the United States and the violence at July´s G-8 meeting, Italy asked the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to move its Nov. 5-9 summit from Rome to the Adriatic city of Rimini, FAO sources reported.

Italy believes Rimini would be a safer location for the summit on world hunger. FAO directors are expected to decide on the matter next week.

In a letter to FAO Director General Jacques Diouf, sent by the office of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the government said it would pay the extra costs of moving the summit.

The purpose of the summit, which is taking place five years after the one held in Rome, is to review the progress and difficulties in the struggle against malnutrition, and to elicit the political will and economic resources needed to accelerate the struggle.

In 1996, representatives of 185 countries set goals for the reduction of hunger in the world, which proved unattainable.

Hunger now affects 800 million people. The 1996 summit´s objective was to halve the number of hungry people in the world by 2015.

FAO reports that the number of hungry people is being reduced by 8 million a year, versus the 20 million needed to achieve the goal set in 1996.

In response to criticisms about the cost of organizing such summits, FAO´s director general told the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana that «periodic meetings with Ministers of Agriculture are not enough. I want, around a working table, the people who make the decisions, who have the authority, and the political instruments to change the situation once and for all.»

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