Aid groups tell world powers not to cut aid

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A coalition of international aid groups urged leaders of the world's most powerful economies at a summit on Thursday to avoid cutting development aid in a bid to resolve the debt crisis.

"There is no reason they should be trying to balance their books on the backs of poor people," said Mark Fried of Oxfam, as leaders of the G20 developed and emerging powers prepared to open a two-day summit in Cannes, France.

The aid groups, which also include World Vision and Feed The Children, estimate that donor countries are planing to slice more than $9.5 billion off their aid budgets this year.

"Aid constitutes less than one percent or about one percent of rich country budgets on average," said Fried. "You are not going to balance the books by cutting aid, but it is an easy symbolic thing to do."

Fried said the $9.5 billion cuts would be the most drastic in 15 years.

"Let's hope they reverse that," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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