US President Donald Trump told Pope Francis today he was committing more than USD 300 million (270 million euros) to help prevent or tackle famine in Yemen and several countries in Africa. Trump, meeting the pontiff for the first time, said he had “renewed” the US “commitment to fighting global famine”, with the United Nations warning that about 20 million people across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk. The UN has described the situation as the biggest humanitarian crisis in its history, but donor funding is falling far short.
It appealed earlier this month for USD 4.4 billion, but said less than a third had been raised. “As he (Trump) relayed at the Vatican, the United States is proud to announce more than $300 million in anti-famine spending” for the area, a White House statement said. His announcement came just a day after the US State Department laid out plans to put “America first” and slash Washington’s budget for diplomacy and foreign aid by more than 30 per cent.
The deepest cuts will hit foreign assistance programmes and contributions by the world’s largest economy to international organisations like the United Nations and its global peacekeeping budget.