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Britain Reconsiders Aid Package for Ethiopia


Britain says it will review its aid package to Ethiopia after discovering malnourished children had been hidden from a visiting British official during a recent visit to the country.

British officials say International Development Minister Douglas Alexander toured a hospital in Ethiopia's war-torn Somali region during a two-day visit to the country this week.

Alexander learned that many of the malnourished children he expected to find at the hospital had been removed before his arrival.

The minister told British media that he confronted Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and told him that it was unconscionable if severely malnourished children had been moved.

Alexander says he refused to make a commitment for future aid to the Ethiopia. Britain gives about $225 million in aid each year to Ethiopia, making it the largest recipient of British aid in Africa.

British officials say they believe the incident is a sign Ethiopia is downplaying the effects of a drought in the Somali region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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