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G-8 Agrees to Increase African Aid, Help Palestinians, and Look at Climate Change


Leaders of the G-8 countries-Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and the United States have concluded their summit in Scotland. When the G8 summit began in Gleneagles Scotland, protesters were demanding that the leaders of the major industrialize countries "Make Poverty History."

The hopes for a successful summit were almost destroyed by the terrorist attacks in London on Thursday. By Friday, as leaders wrapped up their three-day economic summit, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the meetings were successful in spite of the terrorist attacks.

Mr. Blair said, "There is no hope in terrorism, nor any future in it worth living. And it is hope that is the alternative to this hatred. So we offer today this contrast with the politics of terror."

Mr. Blair's so called "alternative to hatred" included aid packages for Africa and the Palestinian Authority and a pledge to build a consensus on a way to tackle global warming: "It's in the nature of politics that you do not achieve absolutely everything you do want to achieve, but none the less, I believe we have made very substantial progress indeed."

World leaders pledged to double aid to Africa to 50 billion U-S dollars. In addition, leaders canceled the debt of some African nations, amongst the poorest countries in the world. They also supported new deals on trade for Africa, committed to adding more peacekeeping forces on the continent and to providing universal access to HIV/AID drugs. Mr. Blair said the aid packages would not help Africa if its national leaders are incapable of providing good governance to their citizens.

Professor Stephen Smith, a professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, DC says it is essential that the G8 nations follow through on their aid commitment to Africa.

Professor Stephen Smith said, "I hope, will not just give the rhetoric of what were going to do in these three things, that the announced plan will not just be sufficient, but the implementation will be sufficient. We have example after example of announced initiatives for cutting debt, for increasing aid, and for giving fairer access to Africa to the markets of the U.S. and Europe and cutting subsidies of our own agricultural products that are hurting the poor in Africa, but very often the reality has not met the rhetoric."

The G-8 leaders approved a 3 billion U.S. dollar aid package for the Palestinian Authority. Funding over several years will be used to help build an infrastructure in Palestinian settlements.

On global warming, the leaders did not set concrete targets or timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as called for in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The United States is the only major industrialized nation that has not signed the global warming treaty. President Bush says its restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions would wreck the American economy by destroying jobs. Emerging economies such as China and India have also not committed to the Kyoto treaty.

The summit leaders called their global warming statement a partial victory and agreed to meet again in Britain later this year to discuss options for slowing down greenhouse gas emissions.


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