UN food agency chief presses Gulf states to ‘step up’ on aid

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the United Nations’ World Food Program is renewing pressure on oil-rich Persian Gulf countries to give his agency more help to deal with mounting humanitarian crises.

WFP Executive Director David Beasley’s comments on Thursday followed a meeting with Development Minister Svenja Schulze of Germany, the agency’s second-biggest donor. Schulze also stressed that “we simply need more countries to give money” as the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and rising prices grows.

“While the United States, Germany and a few others are really stepping up, there are some countries that need to step up — for example, the Gulf states,” Beasley told reporters in Berlin.

High oil prices affect not just shipping and fuel costs, but also the costs of fertilizer and food production, he added, “so they have a moral obligation, in my opinion, to step up in an unprecedented way.”

“Just give me a week’s work of your net profits — is that too much to ask?” Beasley said. “Or at least help (with) the humanitarian crises in your region, like Yemen, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Jordan, in Somalia.”

That, he argued, would take pressure off countries such as the U.S. and Germany and enable “more strategic work” elsewhere.

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