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G8 to Hike Africa Aid by $50 Billion

Group of Eight leaders agreed to boost aid to Africa by $50 billion and cut farm subsidies as part of a package to fight poverty in Africa, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Friday.

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"We offer today this contrast with the politics of terror," Blair said

Blair told a press conference at the end of the three-day G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, that the package included "the $50 billion (42 billion euro) uplift in aid, the signal for a new deal on trade, the cancellation of debts for the poorest nations and universal access to AIDS treatment."

G8 Gipfel in Gleneagels Abschluss

British Prime Minister Tony Blair stands in the centre, as G8 leaders pose together,at the end of the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, Friday July 8, 2005. They are, from left, US President George W. Bush. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, French President Jacques Chirac, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Blair, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, EU President Jose Emanual Barroso, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

The prime minister did not make clear over what period the aid would be delivered, but the draft anti-poverty plan discussed ahead of the summit mentioned an extra $50 billion in aid a year by 2010.

Nor did Blair specify how much debt was cancelled but G8 finance ministers agreed last month to immediately write off $40 billion to 18 of the world's poorest nations, most of them in Africa.

Blair also said there was a plan for a new peacekeeping force in Africa in exchange for the commitment of African leaders to democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

"All of this does not change the world tomorrow, it is a beginning, not an end," he said. "None of this today will match the same ghastly impact of the cruelty of terror."

Farm subsidies

G8 leaders also called for the abolition of agricultural export subsidies by an unspecified "credible end date," according to the text of an expected final summit communique.

Brasilien Landwirtschaft Baumwollernte

"We are also committed to eliminating all forms of export subsidies and establishing disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect by a credible end date," said the text, obtained by AFP on Friday. The statement was to be officially released later in the day.

It said Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States were also "committed to substantially reducing trade-distorting domestic support and substantially improving market access."

Developing countries, notably those in Africa, maintain that government assistance to agriculture in the industrialized world prevents their farmers from competing effectively on international markets and lowers prices.

Eliminating such subsidies has been a key element in a "Marshall Plan" for Africa that summit host, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has been advocating at the summit.

Britain to host climate conference

On the number two topic of the summit -- climate change -- Blair said Britain will host a conference in November on establishing a "dialogue" between the world's eight major industrialized countries and emerging nations on tackling global warming.

"We have agreed a process with a plan of action that will initiate a new dialogue between the G8 countries and the emerging economies of the world to slow down and then in time reverse the rise of harmful greenhouse gas emissions," Blair said.

The meeting will take place on Nov.1 in Britain, Blair said, without giving further details.

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