U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick said yesterday that it would be difficult for the United States to provide trucks to deliver food to victims of the famine in Ethiopia, because "if you provide them to the government they go to the war effort."
At a lunch with Washington Post editors and reporters, Kirkpatrick said, "there is no way . . .of providing for the delivery of the food to the starving people by transferring goods to the government." The Soviet-allied Ethiopian government, while harshly attacking the United States, has requested humanitarian food aid from Washington for victims of the famine in four northern provinces.
Kirkpatrick said, the "diversion of relief goods by a large number of people between the donor and the intended recipient is a very big problem in international relief circles--a bigger problem in some places than others. And it's a very big problem in Ethipia."
A spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development said yesterday that the United States has "responded positively" to two requests for emergency food aid for Ethiopia, totalling $3.3 million. There has been no response so far, however, to a U.N. appeal for $35 million worth of aid.