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CAFOD statement on resignation of Clare Short

 The resignation of International Development Secretary Clare Short today has been greeted with sadness by church groups and agencies. Director of CAFOD, Julian Filochowski, speaking from Brussels said: "Clare Short was a great International Development Secretary. Before she took over development was the Siberia of Government she has taken it to the heart of Government". Beverley Jones, Head of CAFOD's International Division, said: "We are very sorry that Clare Short has resigned as she approached the job with a very positive and can do attitude and raised the profile of International Development both in the UK and in international circles. "She looked at development in Britain and concluded that if it has been possible here it is possible in all parts of the world and she tried to make that happen. She's put a strong poverty focus into International Development and doubled the aid budget. She revisited some of the most intractable conflicts like Sierra Leone, Congo and Sudan, putting her energies behind looking for peaceful solutions. She has regarded the pursuit of peace as part of the international development agenda. "Even when we haven't seen eye to eye on every issue - but she's always been willing to debate and discuss these issues and review positions as a result of this. " We hope that the legacy of the last six years will be taken forward with energy and vigour."The who saw her as a strategic ally in their dealings with government. Describing the resignation as 'a blow' to churches, Christian think-tank Ekklesia said: "Clare worked closely with aid agencies such as CAFOD, Christian Aid and campaign groups such as the Jubilee 2000 coalition towards cancellation of Third World Debt. Before the Iraq war, she arranged for US church leaders to meet with Tony Blair at No 10 Downing Street. In a fifty minute meeting, the delegation led by Rev Jim Wallis from the Sojourners Community in Washington DC, encouraged by Ms Short, set out proposals for avoiding the war with Iraq.