Africa's suffering "unacceptable" Secretary-General declares - Javier Perez de Cuellar.
In a speech on 7 September to the annual conference of the Department of Public Information for Non- Governmental Organizations, Mr. Perez de Cuellar said that "no statistic can convey the real meaning of economic deprivation", adding he had seen first hand how a combination of economic crisis and natural calamity had led to acute and widespread starvation and hunger. It was "unacceptable", he said, "that at a time of economic recovery in the industrial world and of a relatively satisfactory global food situation, millions of African men, women and children should undergo suffering of such magnitude". The international community had to demonstrate its capacity and willingness to help, particularly through the uses of the United Nations system, he added. African leaders were determined to rely primarily on their own efforts and to introduce the necessary changes in their domestic policies to overcome the crisis, he went on. He encouraged them to persevere in these efforts and to strengthen them. "But precisely when they are engaged in this difficult and vast undertaking, the concerted support of the international community should not be denied them." (excerpt)