Ministerl confirms Irish aid for Lesotho
Minister O'Donnell confirms continuing Irish aid programme for Lesotho
- a small country which has suffered because it took a stand against the apartheid regime in South Africa
Ms. Liz O'Donnell. T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development and Human Rights today discussed Ireland's longest running aid programme with Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Finance of Lesotho, Mr. Kelebone Maope and Mr. Leketeke Ketso. The Ministers were accompanied by the Lesotho High Commissioner to Britain H.E. Mr B.M. Masilo. Their visit to Dublin was arranged in preparation for the Lesotho Round Table Donors' Conference, which will be held in Geneva, on 20-22 November, 1997 at which Lesotho's development aid requirements will be discussed with international donors including Ireland. Poverty alleviation is the theme chosen by Lesotho for this Donors' Conference which fits in well with Ireland's aid priorities.
"Ireland has long been a friend of Lesotho" the Minister said. "Our programme of assistance to Lesotho began in 1975, and £60m has been committed since then. The aid programme in Lesotho has evolved over the years, and its focus is now essentially directed towards helping the poor", the Minister stated. "We are helping to build local capacity in education and health, providing clean water supplies and supporting communications in communities. This year the level of Irish aid made available to Lesotho on a bilateral level amounted to £4m. Our longstanding support for Lesotho has been motivated by a desire to help a small country which suffered because of its stand against apartheid in South Africa".
Irish aid will be supporting the country's newly appointed Independent Electoral Commission. It will also collaborate with local NGOs with a view to educating voters in their rights and responsibilities in
the forthcoming National elections early next year.
The Minister also took the opportunity to convey her congratulations on the Coronation of King Letsie III in Lesotho two weeks ago.Top