by Peter Stanford
CARDINAL Basil Hume, acting in his capacity as President of the Council of European bishops' conferences, wrote to the ten EEC leaders meeting in Brussels last weekend, and urged them to take a new initiative in the face of the continuing famine which is afflicting many areas of Africa.
In a letter addressed to Bettino Craxi, the Italian Prime Minister who is currently President of the EEC Council of Ministers, the Cardinal, who visited the famine stricken areas of Ethiopia last sear, appealed to the ten leaders to "seize this opportunity to raise with your colleagues the matter of Africa's continuing plight". He referred back to the last EEC summit in Dublin which "took unprecedented and timely action to relieve the immediate food needs of the drought-afflicted countries".
He called on the summit at Brussels to ensure that pledges of aid for Africa are honoured "and that the relief operation now underwas does not falter for lack of momentum". The Cardinal in particular stressed the need to ensure that vital food-aid arched "at the time and place needed". Ile wrote also of the lack of fuel and transportation, and of medicine and medical supplies.
At the end of their summit in Brussels which was dominated by the discussions leading up to the accession of Spain and Portugal to the community, the ten leaders spoke of their continuing concern over the situation in Africa and their determination to "keep an eye" on events in Africa. They expressed their satisfaction that the measures prescribed at Dublin had now been implemented, and hinted at a willingness to "go beyond" those measures in their response.
• Bishop Joseph Hitchin, Auxiliary in Liverpool, and Chairman of Cafod, is to visit Ethiopia accompanied by Cathy Corcoran, the Africa Projects' Officer of Cafod. They will watch the distribution of emergency aid in the north of the country, and it is hoped that they will also go south to inspect the long-term development projects hacked by Cafod and its partners. The bishop will then report back to the bishops of England and Wales at their forthcoming Low Week meeting.
Cardinal Tomas 0 Fiaich, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has recently returned from a trip to the drought-stricken areas.