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Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 14:01:02 +0100
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
Thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org (jim mcnulty) for forwarding this:
Clinton leant on Blair to allow modified foods
The Independent - London Sun, Sept 6, 1998
BILL CLINTON has personally intervened with Tony Blair to stop Britain from
halting the controversial production of genetically engineered foods.
The US President telephoned the Prime Minister during the summer to try to
persuade him that genetically modified (GM) crops - worth millions of
pounds to the US economy - would not be bad for Britain.
The two leaders also discussed the matter during Mr Clinton's visit to
Number 10 in May, Foreign Office officials have confirmed.
Sources close to the Government say that the US President is pressing Blair
to support commercial production of GM crops in Britain despite growing
Consumer and environmental groups including English Nature, the
Government's official wildlife adviser, want the Government to introduce a
moratorium on growing such crops commercially in the UK for at least three
France and Austria have temporarily banned the growth of GM food until more
is known about its effects on the environment.
Clinton's intervention has outraged MPs and environmentalists. They accuse
the US President of intruding in a sensitive domestic matter.
"It is quite wrong for the British Prime Minister to be conspiring behind
the back of the British public about American business interests," said
Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat environment spokesman.
The Clinton administration has close links with [ Monsanto ] , the powerful
biotechnology conglomerate which develops the seeds for GM crops.
Monsanto, which made a profit of almost $300m (pounds 177m) in 1997, is one
of five companies spearheading Clinton's welfare to work programme, and the
President singled out the biotech company for praise during his State of
the Nation address last year.
During the 1996 election, Monsanto was among those donating thousands of
dollars in "soft money" (legal funds which are not included in the ban on
corporate donations) to the Clinton camp.
MPs say Clinton's move is resonant of Tony Blair's telephone intervention
earlier this year on behalf of media baron Rupert Murdoch. The Prime
Minister sparked political outrage when he spoke to Italian premier Romano
Prodi about Murdoch's bid to buy Mediaset, an Italian television company.
The first commercial GM crop, oil seed rape, is set to be sown in Britain
next year, following Government approval. Hundreds of acres of trial crops
have already been planted throughout the UK.
(Copyright 1998 Newspaper Publishing PLC)
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign, for Mandatory Labelling
and Long-Term Testing of Genetically Engineered Food
500 Wilbrod Street, Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
Subscription to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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