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Military Spending Higher Than In Cold War, Oxfam Says

Aerial exhibition at an arms fair in Russia (ITAR-TASS) PRAGUE, September 22, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The international aid agency Oxfam says global military spending is expected to reach some $1.06 trillion this year, higher than the previous record set during the Cold War.

Oxfam says the previous record for world military spending was $1.03 trillion in 1988.

Oxfam says military spending and conflict are major causes of hunger in poor countries, and in its report the group calls on the world's governments to support a proposed treaty that would set conditions aimed at halting the transfer of arms to war zones.

The report says the United States and Middle Eastern countries are responsible for most of the growth in military spending, but says some of the world's poorest countries, mostly in Africa, have also increased spending.

The report says that between 2002 and 2003, Pakistan spent more on its military than on health care.

Oxfam notes that the conflict in the country is making it difficult to deliver relief supplies to Afghanistan, where some 2.5 million people do not have enough food to eat.

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