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    The Director General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Special Fund, Mr. Ibrahim?

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    The Director General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Special Fund, Mr. Ibrahim Shihata of Kuwait, announced in Rome on Wednesday (12 May) that the OPEC oil-producing nations will give 400,000,000 U.S. (GBP 200,000,000 sterling) to the projected International Fund for Agricultural Development.

    The donation has been made conditional on developed countries also giving 600,000,000 U.S. dollars (GBP 300,000,000 sterling) to the fund. The announcement was made by Mr. Shihata on the third day of the preparatory meeting for next month's United Nations World Food Council ministerial session.

    The Executive Director of the World Food Council, Mr. John Hannah, of the United States, said that the terms of the OPEC contribution were different from what "some of us had anticipated and hoped for".

    Total contributions by developed countries announced so far, amount to 461,000,000 U.S. dollars (about GBP 230,000,000 sterling). However, according to Reuters, council officials were confident this figure would rise without difficulty to about 530,000,000 U.S. dollars (GBP 265,000,000 sterling).

    Several contributors - most significantly the United Sates and West Germany - have said their contributions are dependent on roughly equal amounts coming from OPEC side.

    Mr. Shihata told Reuters after the meeting that OPEC has never accepted the principle of parity on payments to the Fund. He added, that the OPEC position was absolutely firm.

    According to Council officials, the future of the Fund now depends on the flexibility of western nations -- in particular the United states and West Germany.

    SYNOPSIS: The headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, where a preparatory meeting for next month's World Food Council Ministerial Session was held this week.

    At Wednesday's meeting one of the main topics discussed by delegates from many parts of the world was a resolution from the 1974 World Food Conference, urging the establishment of a projected international fund for agricultural development.

    The resolution now looks like becoming a reality and during the day, Mr. Ibrahim Shihata, director General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Special Fund, announced that OPEC was prepared to contribute 400 million dollars to the projected fund on condition that developed countries gave 600 million. Total contributions by developed countries announced so far amounts to 461 million dollars, but officials are confident that this will rise to at least 530 million.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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