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US, Canada are tops in keeping G8 aid pledges

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Canada tied for the top rank in a study of which rich countries kept pledges of aid made at the 2004 Group of Eight summit a year ago, a Canadian researcher said on Thursday.

Both Canada and the United States kept their commitments 72 percent of the time, according to a draft report by John Kirton, a University of Toronto professor.

The European Union, which is not a member of the G8 but participates in some of its activities, also scored 72 percent. EU members Britain and Germany tied at 67 percent, with France next at 50 percent and then Italy at 44 percent. Japan came in at 39 percent and Russia trailed at 6 percent.

For the eight countries and European Union, the average was 55 percent, or "one of the highest scores in 21st century summitry," Kirton said. The only time the average was higher was after a G8 summit in Okinawa in 2000, when the average was 80 percent.

The document is to be released in final form before next week's G8 summit in Scotland, but a draft was obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The report found all eight countries and the EU kept their full commitments to provide democracy assistance to the Middle East and North Africa, support the environment and provide debt relief to the most heavily indebted nations.

All failed to keep their pledge to finance development, one of 18 primary commitments agreed to at the June 2004 summit in Sea Island, Georgia.


The high scores reflect well on President Bush, who hosted the Sea Island meeting, Kirton said.

"George Bush is a really very good multilateralist," Kirton said in a telephone interview from Glasgow, Scotland. "Not only did he host a very successful Sea Island summit but continues to be a very good multilateralist, having America bear its fair share of the burden or more and actually putting those commitments into effect."

The high level of compliance appears to get beyond earlier divisions over the Iraq war, he said.

"This shows that everybody has bought into what they collectively did at Sea Island and they're pretty much all pulling their weight in being pretty faithful to fulfilling the promises they've made," Kirton said.

Susan Rice, who was Assistant Secretary of State for Africa during the Clinton administration, questioned Bush's recent statement that the United States had tripled aid to sub-Saharan Africa over the last four years.

She said in an online report that while the Bush administration has significantly increased aid, that increase amounts to 56 percent in real dollars.

From $2.034 billion in fiscal 2000, aid to sub-Saharan Africa rose to $3.399 billion in fiscal 2004, Rice wrote online at http:/www.brookings.edu/views/articles/rice/20050627.htm.

The White House disputed Rice, saying Bush's figures were documented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee, or DAC.

"The numbers provided by the DAC indicate that U.S. bilateral aid to Africa was $1.1 billion in 2000, and in 2004 was $3.2 billion. These numbers are available on the OECD Web site," a White House spokesman said.



I was shocked by this story... because I read Blackleaf's post the other day on Britian being the top dog while ripping on America for not holding its end up. Well, well... looky here! grin2.gif

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