Wednesday 30 June 1999

Greenpeace said that Belgian timber industry officials have agreed to meet them to discuss logging practices in the central Africa nation of Cameroon. About 20 Greenpeace activists temporarily blocked the unloading of a timber shipment from Cameroon to protest what it claims are environmentally damaging logging practices. "We want to protest against unsustainable logging practices in Cameroon," Filip Verbelen, bio-diversity campaigner for Greenpeace Belgium, said. "It is part of an international campaign that Greenpeace is holding. It is not just on Cameroon."

Although Cameroon is due to enact a ban on log exports on July 1, Verbelen said the dangers to Cameroon's ancient forests would remain as timber would simply be processed locally rather than shipped overseas. "It doesn't change much if it's processed in the country or directly exported to Europe," Verbelen said. "It doesn't change anything for the forest." He said Greenpeace had identified eight large timber importers into the Belgian market and one logging company. According to Greenpeace, the selective logging practices used in Cameroon are just as damaging to ancient forests as the cutting methods used in North America.

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