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UN Population Fund welcomes US congressional support

Welcoming a decision by United States legislators to appropriate a contribution of $34 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), its chief today urged the administration in Washington to release the money.The Bush Administration has withheld appropriated money from the Fund for the past two years, claiming that UNFPA provides indirect support to a programme of coercive abortion in China.But numerous delegations, including a team from the US Administration, have visited family planning programmes in China and found no evidence of UNFPA support for coercion. For its part, the Fund has strongly urged the Chinese authorities to end coercive policies.Members of the House of Representatives and Senate approved the funds for UNFPA as part of the 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. “I appeal to the United Stats Administration to allow the funds appropriated by Congress to be released so that the country can rejoin all other industrialized countries in supporting UNFPA’s work to promote voluntary family planning, safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS prevention in the world’s poorest countries,” said Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid.UNFPA estimated that the $34 million applied to its programmes could prevent 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths and 77,000 infant and child deaths worldwide in just one year.

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