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November 17 1999
EUROPE
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Britain threatens aid cut

FROM JOHN PHILLIPS IN ROME

BRITAIN served notice on the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) yesterday that it would consider withdrawing financial support for the famine-fighting organisation if its constitution did not change to prevent the flamboyant Director-General, Jacques Diouf, from perpetuating his "autocratic" leadership style.

George Foulkes, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for International Development, told The Times at the 30th general conference of the FAO that Britain was forming a "reform coalition" of countries after the re-election - in what the minister described as "a set-up" - of Mr Diouf, a Senegalese agronomist, to a second six-year term.

The new alliance will aim to rewrite the constitution to reinstitute a clause preventing director-generals from holding office for more than two terms. "It is very vital to have term limits so that the incumbent does not just go on and on," Mr Foulkes said.

Asked if Britain would consider withdrawing its voluntary contribution if reform did not take place, he said that the Government would have to review its position.

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