Sunday, June 10, 2007

G8 pledges R437-billion to Africa

Heiligendamm - The Group of Eight powers agreed on Friday to pledge $60-billion (about R437-billion) to fight Aids and malaria in Africa on the final day of their annual summit.
South African President Thabo Mbeki and Chinese President Hu Jintao were among leaders from emerging nations who arrived on Germany's Baltic Sea coast for discussions expected to focus on aid for the developing world.
Summit host German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to announce the plan to give $60-billion to Africa to combat Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said.
US President George Bush, who was sick and missed the first working session on Friday, unveiled the main thrust of the Aids initiative in May and the figure to be announced included $30-billion already earmarked by Washington, G8 sources said.

A White House official said Bush's condition was "not serious" and that he was believed to have a stomach virus.
"President Bush is slightly indisposed this morning and will rejoin the working meeting as soon as he can," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after an hour-long discussion with Bush, who did not appear to talk with reporters.
After the G8 leaders struck a face-saving deal on climate change on Thursday, attention on the final day of the summit turned to how the richest nations can assist Africa and work with emerging powers from the so-called "Plus Five" group - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.
Leaders of the five nations held talks in Berlin on Thursday and said they wanted their "different capacities and interests" taken into consideration when tackling climate change, reflecting the view of China and India that imposing emissions cuts would restrict their booming economic growth.
The accord worked out by the G8 - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States - was dismissed by environmental groups as an empty gesture but many observers hailed the pact for finally tying the United States to the goal of fighting global warming.
The G8 agreed to pursue major cuts to dangerous greenhouse gas pollution and said they would "seriously consider" the goal of halving global emissions by 2050.
Although Merkel said she was "very satisfied" with the deal, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it "a major, major step forward", global warming campaigners said it came up far too short.
"The deal is clearly not enough to prevent dangerous climate change" said Daniel Mittler, climate policy advisor of Greenpeace International.
"The US isolation in refusing to accept binding emission cuts has become blindingly obvious at this meeting."
But the UN's top environmental official welcomed the agreement, saying it gave fresh impetus to talks for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol - the emissions-cutting pact which runs out in 2012 - and spells out that any deal should be global and come under the auspices of the UN.
"Very recently, (the United States) indicated that it was too early, it was premature to begin negotiations on a post-2012 climate change regime, so that's a very clear shift," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The summit on Thursday also saw Russian President Vladimir Putin call for Russia and the United States to share a base to detect missile attacks.
The startling proposal was a bid to overcome a crisis over US plans to locate a missile defence system in eastern Europe.
Putin proposed after talks with Bush that the two former Cold War foes use a Russian base in Azerbaijan.
Russia has angrily opposed the US plan for a shield system in Poland and the Czech Republic and Putin had threatened to aim Russian missiles at European targets if it was deployed.

Link to IOL: G8 pledges R437-billion to Africa