Poor ignored at £400m summit

CHARITIES yesterday rounded on the G8 leaders for doing nothing to help the world’s poor after an extravagant £400 million summit where Africa was nominally the top priority.

After 15 statements, over 64 pages, the summit agreed only to meet again in September and discuss financing schemes for poverty reduction targets.

The charities who arrived at the French town of Evian to lobby for progress during the meeting said that the G8’s inaction stood in sorry contrast to the $15 billion promised by the United States.

Justin Forsyth, Oxfam’s policy director, said he was "bitterly disappointed". "I’ve been to a few of these summits in the past, and this is by far the worst in terms of outcome."

Bob Geldolf, the former pop star and the founder of BandAid, said that, in spite of inviting five African leaders to the summit, their countries have been sent away with nothing but kind words.

"From our point of view, we wanted to see action on debt and trade. There was absolutely zero on that. In fact there wasn’t even any agreed language on trade. They’ve put that off to the IMF and World Bank which is basically parking it," he said.

Cafod, a British agency, said the most important development came last month when the US pledged $15 billion to fight HIV/Aids.

The G8 statement on North Korea repeated the United Nations position: that it must "visibly, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle any nuclear weapons programmes".

A warning shot was fired across Iran’s bows by a statement saying: "We will not ignore the proliferation implications of Iran’s advanced nuclear programme." However, no alternative was set out.

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