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French NGOs protest at aid cuts

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on a visit toTripoli, Libya, in September
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on a visit toTripoli, Libya, in September Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Some 165 NGOs on Friday slammed the French governments cuts in foreign aid, judging them "inconsistent" with President Emmanuel Macron's promise to increase France's assistance to poorer countries.

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Macron's plan to increase France's aid budget to 0.55 percent of GDP by 2022 has got off to a bad start with a 140-million-euro cut announced in July as part of 4.5 billion euros of reductions in public spending.

"A major budget cut will affect French NGOs involved in international solidarity at the very moment when their services are services are much in demand," a statement by the Coordination Sud coalition said.

"This unacceptable decision weakens even more organisations that already received little support from the state for their work with the most vulnerable populations."

Amid confusion over whether a committee to decide on grants will take place at the end of the year, the NGOs have been given to understand that the amounts available will be reduced by 50 percent, Khalil Alouardghi of the Coalition plus Aids campaign told the AFP news agency.

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