> >G8 reach compromise on African aid

: G8 reach compromise on African aid

: G8 reach compromise on African aid.


World leaders, shaken by deadly bombings in London, are wrapping up an economic summit with a major aid package for Africa but continued bickering between the United States and its allies over global warming.

The leaders managed to stick to their agenda even though British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the summit host, had to rush back to his capital to calm a nation shocked by the worst attacks on London since World War II.

Blair returned to the summit later Friday.

A series of statements scheduled to be issued as the Group of Eight summit drew to a close will pledge to double assistance to reduce poverty and fight disease in Africa, the world's poorest continent.

Less progress was made on Blair's other summit goal -- getting America on board to make major reductions in emissions of the gases that some have blamed for global warming.

The United States, the only G-8 country that has not ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, continued to reject Blair's calls for setting specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Before the final joint statements were issued, the leaders were meeting with five African nations to highlight the G-8's efforts to bolster the world's poorest continent.

President Bush and the other leaders made a point of sticking to the summit's schedule as a statement that the terrorist attacks could not disrupt their efforts.

They did issue a special statement, read by Blair with the other leaders standing behind him, that condemned "these barbaric acts" and vowed, "We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilized people everywhere."

"We will not yield to these people," Bush said in a sentiment echoed by the other leaders.

"Our collective freedom has come under attack today by those who would use violence and murder to force extremism upon the world," said Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. He said he had learned of the attacks from Blair, who whispered the development to him as they were posing for photographs during Thursday's arrival ceremony.

All of the leaders stressed that the terrorist attacks would not stop them from accomplishing what they set out to do at the summit.

"We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values nor will we allow it to stop the work of this summit," said Blair.

The nearly simultaneous blasts rocked the London subway and tore open a double-decker bus. Deaths and the number of injured mounted.

Bush and the other leaders received frequent updates on the events in London during their talks on Thursday and conferred with officials in their home capitals to assure themselves that all security precautions were taken. The United States raised its terror alert to orange for subways, buses and trains.

Thursday's discussions focused on climate change, which pitted the Bush administration against the other countries.

According to a draft of the communique on global warming obtained by The Associated Press, the leaders have agreed that increased demand for fossil fuels -- as well as other human activities -- was contributing in large part to the build up of greenhouse gases tied to the warming of the earth's atmosphere.

French President Jacques Chirac called the compromise language a "visible, real evolution" in the American position. However, environmental groups complained that the statement omitted Blair's objectives of obtaining commitments to cut greenhouse emissions by specified levels.

On Africa, the summit countries were expected to pledge to double aid to Africa by 2012, a key Blair objective, but leave out the numerical goal of increasing aid from the current $25 billion to $50 billion. Also left out of the pledge on support for Africa will be Blair's other goal of getting all summit countries to commit to raising foreign aid to an amount equivalent to 0.7 percent of each country's economy by 2015.

The United States, which is now giving an amount equal to 0.16 percent of its economy, objected to the setting a numerical target for support.

The attacks in London came as Bush and Blair were meeting over breakfast and answering questions from reporters and before all the leaders were due to begin the summit's general session.

"It's particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, the long-term problems of climate change and the environment," Blair told reporters.



2005-2024. ! homeenglish@mail.ru