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Blair embarks on G8 summit talks


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Blair embarks on G8 summit talks

Tony Blair is due to embark on a series of talks with world leaders to discuss Africa and climate change - the twin priorities for next month's G8 summit.

On Saturday, the world's richest countries agreed to write off the debt owed by 18 mainly African countries.

The UK prime minister will use visits to Moscow, Berlin and Paris to press for a commitment to further aid.

He returned from talks in the US last week after securing a pledge from President George W Bush on debt relief.

The pair will seek backing for their plan at the G8 group's summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

But they failed to agree on taking action against climate change.

'The beginning'

Mr Blair will also hold talks in Luxembourg whose presidency of the EU the UK will take over in July.

Under the package agreed by G8 finance ministers meeting in London on Saturday, the world's richest countries said they would write off the $40bn (£22bn; 33bn euros) debt owed to them.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Fund will immediately write off 100% of the money owed them by nations including Benin, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Anti-poverty campaigners welcomed the deal but say they want more nations to benefit.

Singer Bob Geldof, who has organised the global Live 8 concerts to highlight global poverty and put pressure on the G8 to act, hailed the deal as "the beginning".

But he added: "The end will not be achieved until we have the complete package... of debt cancellation, doubling of aid, and trade justice."

Story from BBC NEWS:


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