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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ROME2049
2005-06-15 15:34:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM, ROME-BASED MEDIA REACT

Tags:  OIIP KPAO OPRC EAGR AORC PHUM EAID PREF SU LY XA FAO WFP 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS  ROME 002049 

SIPDIS


FROM U.S. MISSION TO THE UN AGENCIES

STATE FOR U/S P NBURNS, A/S PA SMCCORMACK
STATE FOR IO A/S PDIBBLE, DAS RMILLER, DAS MLAGON, IO/EDA,
IO/PPC, PRM A/S ADEWEY
USDA/FAS FOR U/S JPENN, JBUTLER, MCHAMBLISS AND LREICH
USAID FOR DAA/DCHA WGARVELINK, DCHA/OFDA, DCHA/FFP, AID/LPA
AF/E, AF/PDPA, R, IIP, PA
NSC FOR EABRAMS, JMELINE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KPAO OPRC EAGR AORC PHUM EAID PREF SU LY XA FAO WFP
SUBJECT: UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM, ROME-BASED MEDIA REACT
POSITIVELY TO $674 MILLION AID PACKAGE FOR AFRICA




1. (U) Summary: Outreach to World Food Program, UN
diplomats and locally based international and Italian
journalists garnered positive reaction to last week's
Presidential announcement of an aid package to Africa. In
response to Mission efforts to highlight the
Administration's initiative, WFP Executive Director James
Morris praised the United States for its efforts in
alleviating hunger, and AP, BBC, Bloomberg and Italian
media ran coverage. End Summary.



--------------------------


APPRECIATION FROM THE UN


--------------------------




2. (U) Following the President's announcement of a new U.S.
initiative toward poverty in Africa (reftel), Ambassador
Hall asked for agenda time at the annual session of the
Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Program
(WFP) to announce the new U.S. emergency aid package in
Rome. "This essential aid will save millions of people," he
emphasized.



3. (U) In response, WFP Executive Director James Morris was
generous in his praise of the announcement and the support
from the U.S. and the UK. "Clearly on behalf of World Food
Program, I express my most profound gratitude to the U.S.
and the UK for this announcement...This will be an
incredible boost to our efforts in the Horn of Africa and
in the continent."



4. (U) Morris pointed out the recent increase in U.S.
humanitarian aid. "In the last few years the U.S. has
tripled its support for our work in Africa and doubled its
overall development budget," he said. "This will touch
millions of people. This is a very ambitious response to a
tough problem."



--------------------------


COVERAGE FROM THE PRESS


--------------------------





5. (U) Mission's PAO also received an enthusiastic response
to a press release distributed on the local angle of the
aid package. An Associated Press release headlined with
"U.S. famine aid package to be given immediately; package
wins U.N. praise." AP picked up a post-generated press
release that focused on comments made by Ambassador Hall
during the World Food Program regular Executive Board
session and reaction by Executive Director James Morris on
the aid package.



6. (U) AP quoted the following: "'Additional funds from the
United States for the World Food Program's work in Africa
will answer the prayers of millions of hungry mothers and
children,' James Morris, executive director of the U.N.
agency, said in a statement. 'It comes just in time to
avert massive loss of life from hunger, especially in
Ethiopia and Eritrea.'" AP also wrote: "The announcement by
Bush raises U.S. funding for humanitarian crises in Africa
to more than US $2 billion (euro 1.62 billion), the World
Food Program said. The United Kingdom's support totals some
US$300 million (euro 243.43 million), the agency said."



7. (U) Both the AP story and USUN Rome's press release were
translated into Italian and subsequently picked up by Il
Velino, an Italian wire service that included Morris'
praise of the new injection of funds along with Ambassador
Hall's call for other countries to increase donations.



--------------------------


AMBASSADOR INTERVIEWS


--------------------------





8. (U) BBC Radio Today, with more than 6 million listeners,
also interviewed the Ambassador this past weekend during a


segment where he was coupled with the Ethiopian Ambassador
to the UK to discuss the aid package and the agreement by
G8 ministers on debt relief. Ambassador Hall emphasized the
U.S. commitment to Africa and discussed the aid package as
having an immediate impact on saving lives.



9. (U) Mission also took advantage of the World Food
Program's Walk the World event, on Sunday, June 12, where
walks took place in 90 countries to raise awareness and
money for school feeding programs. PAO set up an interview
for the Ambassador with Bloomberg local agency chief.
Bloomberg subsequently ran a story on the U.S. Mission's
participation.



10. (U) Thanks to a cooperative effort between USUN Rome
PAO and Embassy Rome PA office, Ambassador Hall appeared on
the "Today Show" of Italian television to discuss the aid
package and the humanitarian situation in Africa. "Uno
Mattina" is watched by 1.3 million people. The Ambassador
highlighted details of the aid package, as well as talked
about the benefits of school feeding programs and how
individual Italians can help.



11. (U) USUN Rome's outreach succeeded in putting a local
spin on an international story to increase news coverage.
Despite some negative reaction in the press regarding the
aid package (that "P.M. Blair should have gotten more from
the U.S."), the media generated in Rome was positive.



--------------------------


CONCLUSION


--------------------------





12. (U) This timely announcement, coupled with the G8 debt
relief agreement, moved the U.S. off the defensive during
the wind-up to Gleneagles, focusing the spotlight on
concrete efforts the U.S. is taking to tackle problems in
Africa and on the U.S. commitment to those in need.

HALL


NNNN
2005ROME02049 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED