U.N. food agency: director-general Jacques Diouf of Senegal re-elected

Jacques Diouf of Senegal was re-elected Saturday for his third, six-year term as director-general of the U.N. food agency, the agency announced.

Diouf has been the lone candidate for the job and his re-election was not a surprise. It came on the first day of a weeklong meeting of top officials with the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization that also included agriculture ministers from around the world.

Diouf, 67, was first elected to the position in November 1993, and before that he served as Senegal's ambassador to the United Nations in New York. He is also a former secretary-general of the Central Bank for the West African States in Dakar, Senegal, the agency said.

He is the organization's seventh director-general since the FAO was founded in Quebec City, Canada, in 1945.

Also Saturday, the conference voted to admit Belarus as the organization's 188th member country, the agency said in a release.

Earlier, the head of a U.S. group that works to end world hunger called for stronger political will on the part of governments and citizens to help stop the world's poor from going hungry.

"The people in this room come from many different cultures and traditions. But we all know that making sure that children have enough to eat is the right thing to do," said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "We all know that allowing 850 million people to go hungry is wrong."

Beckmann said government programs have the power to reduce or increase hunger on a large scale, and their policies set the framework in which people and businesses and work.

Officials attending the meeting were expected to discuss issues including bird flu, the dangers that global warming poses to small island states and approve the organization's budget for 2006-2007, AP reports. P.T.

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