ROME, Feb 24: The United Nations' food aid agency has opened the way for its return to North Korea, with a 2 million two-year plan to feed hungry women and children, but said the aid depended on greater government cooperation.
The World Food Programme (WFP) ended more than 10 years of emergency food deliveries to the impoverished and isolated country at the end of last year over disagreements on conditions for supplying the aid.
The Rome-based aid agency's governing board yesterday agreed the new package but said Pyongyang would have to lift some of its restrictions on the number of foreign WFP staff allowed into the country and on the number of monitoring visits.
''We now look to the government of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to agree to conditions that will allow us to do our work properly, for the sake of the people who need our help,'' said WFP Executive Director James Morris.
''If we cannot reach a suitable final agreement on our operating conditions, we will be forced to withdraw,'' he said.
The WFP said the agreement of its ruling board was only the first step in getting the aid to North Korea where it would provide 150,000 tonnes of food to 1.9 million women and young children in a total population of 23 million.
In addition to an agreement with Pyongyang, additional funds would be required from WFP's donor nations, it said.