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Blair's anger at US, EU and Japan.


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Deputy Political Editor

at the United Nations in New York

TONY Blair last night lashed out at America, the EU and Japan as his dream of making poverty history hit the buffers.

The exasperated PM blamed President George Bush plus European and Japanese leaders for putting his grand plan in peril.

He accused them of failing to rip up trade barriers which stop Third World countries selling goods abroad.

Mr Blair teamed up with Sir Bob Geldof to launch a broadside — just two months after millions around the globe celebrated the rock star’s Make Poverty History campaign at Live 8.

The PM admitted during United Nations talks in New York that his efforts may be doomed. He said: “Around the world everyone is trying to call each others’ bluff on trade.

“People are saying, ‘We will get rid of our tariffs and subsidies if you get rid of yours.’

"We need to start calling a few of those bluffs. People need to understand, if we end up with a failure, that will echo around the world.

"I’m not prepared to have that without the most monumental struggle."

Time is running out for action because the PM wants trade blockades on African goods dumped by December.

Live 8 mastermind Sir Bob gave the UN summit four out of ten, compared to the 10/10 he awarded after the G8 talks at Gleneagles in July.

He raged at world leaders for watering down promises made at Gleneagles to increase aid, wipe out debt and axe trade restraints.

He said: “The entire planet has to do more. We are looking at potential disaster.”

African countries are unable to sell products like furniture and chocolate, in America and the EU because of trade tariffs.

Huge taxes are slapped on their exports so shoppers buy rival local products to protect domestic jobs.

The problem means poor African states find it impossible to generate their own economies and are forced to rely on handouts. Mr Bush said on Wednesday he was happy to axe all subsidies, but only if EVERY other country follows suit.

He vowed: “The US is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to the free flow of goods, as other nations do the same.”

Last night Mr Blair made it clear he believes the President is among those who are “calling each others’ bluff”.

He said: “It is true that America has a long history that there are ways other than aid of improving the situation in Africa.

“But it’s not just America, the European countries have got to do more.”

Mr Blair has made it his personal crusade to use his presidency of the EU and the G8 during 2005 to end the Third World poverty crisis.

Aid and charity groups slammed the UN summit. ActionAid said: “This has been bitterly disappointing.

“The poor have been left to sink or swim, whilst in New York the world’s leaders are treading water.”

Mr Blair last night attended ex US president Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative inaugural meeting in New York.

The two-day event, attended by world leaders and activists, will address poverty and climate change.


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