News and Information
African leaders urge debt action
|July 5, 2005
| Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo
Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo led calls for debt relief
African leaders have called on G8 nations to "fully embrace" a raft of anti-poverty measures including total debt relief for Africa.
Meeting in Libya, African Union heads of state said G8 leaders must act quickly to cancel debt at their summit in Scotland, which starts on Wednesday.
The summit will be dominated by issues of global trade, aid for Africa, debt relief and climate change.
Anti-poverty protests continued on Tuesday but passed off peacefully.
AU leaders - headed by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo - called on Tuesday for the G8 group of nations to endorse the recommendations of the UK-backed Commission for Africa - which include 100% debt relief for all African countries - and "to act expeditiously on them".
In other key developments:
* Police have said they will deal robustly with further protests expected on Wednesday near the summit venue.
* Up to 100 protesters arrested on Monday have appeared in court in Edinburgh
* Live8 organiser Bob Geldof has called violent protesters "idiots" and said Monday's clashes were a side issue
* South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel questioned G8 leaders' commitment to Africa as the continent does not pose a threat to their future or security.
* Breakthroughs have been reached on debt cancellation and aid ahead of the meeting, but progress has yet to be made on fair trade and climate change.
Police have set out their plans to ensure a peaceful protest in the town of Auchterarder, near the summit venue, on Wednesday.
Tayside chief constable John Vine said months of preparation had taken place for the march, which will be licensed for only 5,000 people. He said the police would take "robust action" if they encounter people who are prepared to break the law.
WHAT IS THE G8?
Group of eight major industrialised states, inc Russia
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, US
Originally set up to discuss trade and economic issues
Now leaders discuss global issues of the day
2005 Summit agenda
Read the full profile
G8: Will it meet expectations?
What do G8 protesters want
In Edinburgh, three anti-poverty activists chained themselves to the top of a crane to highlight their objections to Mr Brown's promotion of free-market solutions for Africa.
About 150 environmental activists staged a peaceful protest at an oil refinery in Grangemouth, about 30 kilometres from Edinburgh.
For many, the meeting is a defining moment in current world politics, as an upswell of popular support is calling on the G8 leaders to make fundamental changes to the way rich countries deal with poorer nations.
Long road to justice? Bob Geldof gets on a train to Edinburgh
Some breakthroughs have been made, with G8 nations agreeing to double aid for poor countries and offer 100% debt relief.
Other key topics are fair trade and climate change and leaders are also likely to talk about the impact of high oil prices and exchange rates on economic stability.
President George W Bush downplayed expectations over trade deals and climate change in an interview with ITV on Monday.
Mr Bush said a deal on dropping its farm subsidies - which African states say is vital for fair trade - would only happen if the EU ditched its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
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