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FAO to consider options for Summit venue


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FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf

Listen to an audio clip of the statement made by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf at the press conference (1min. 38sec.). Realaudio (107Kb), Mp3 (764Kb)

At a news conference held at FAO headquarters in Rome on 3 September, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said that the organization could consider the feasibility of moving the World Food Summit: five years later, scheduled for 5-9 November, but excluded any possibility of postponing the meeting. The statement came after a lunch meeting between Mr Diouf and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who conveyed the Italian Government's request that the summit be moved, amid fears that it might attract protests like those that struck the G8 summit in Genoa in July.

"Such a decision would have to be taken in accordance with the rules and procedures of the organization," said Mr Diouf. "However, we are open to study whatever alternative location would be proposed by the Government of Italy and the feasibility of such alternative proposals in relation to our objective of ensuring that the Summit will be a success."

Mr Diouf announced that a technical team composed of representatives from FAO and the Government would study the logistical aspects of such a move and would consider alternative venues that could meet the needs of such a large gathering. All heads of state have been invited to attend the meeting, a follow-up to the World Food Summit in 1996, where representatives of 185 nations and the European Community pledged to reduce the number of hungry people by half by 2015. At the November meeting participants will review progress made towards that goal and consider ways to accelerate the process.

5 September 2001

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