£30bn aid `will lift shadow of terror'

A £30bn aid package for Africa agreed by the G8 last night will "lift the shadow of terrorism", Tony Blair said.

A £30bn aid package for Africa agreed by the G8 last night will "lift the shadow of terrorism", Tony Blair said.

The Prime Minister contrasted the deal struck by leaders gathered at Gleneagles with the aims of those behind the London bombings.

After uniting to condemn Thursday's attacks the heads of the eight richest nations had come together to help Africa, Mr Blair said. He conceded the package did not meet the demands of all anti-poverty campaigners.

But he insisted: "We have made very substantial progress indeed. We do not, simply by this communique, make poverty history. But we do show it can be done and we do signify the political will to do it."

Campaigner Bob Geldof said measures agreed at the summit would save 10 million lives.

"Today is a great day for those 10 million people," Geldof said. "Was this a success? On aid, 10 out of 10, on debt eight out of 10. Time only will tell if this has been historic or not."

African development and climate change were the twin key issues placed on the agenda of the summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, by Mr Blair.

The Prime Minister insisted the agreements struck set a course to end global poverty and eventually bring the US on board to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the Africa deal leaders had agreed to £1.80bn for the Palestinian Authority so "two states Israel and Palestine, two peoples and two religions can live side-by-side in peace" he said.

He admitted pushing for a deadline to end subsidies like those provided by the EU Common Agricultural Policy but predicted that would now happen at trade talks in December.

US President George Bush had paved the way to an agreement by suggesting American subsidies if the CAP was scrapped.

"I believe it should be and will be 2010 when we can end subsidies," he said.

That move was among the demands of the Africa Commissioner, established by Mr Blair, which also set the target of increasing annual aid to Africa by £30bn within 10 years.

It has been described as a minimum by many aid experts, who argue the sum is relatively small by G8 standards and could be given immediately.

Mr Blair compared the G8's attempts to save and improve lives with the terrorists who struck London.

"The purpose of terrorism is not only to kill and maim the innocent. It is to put despair and anger and hatred in people's hearts," he said.

"There is no hope from terrorism nor any future in it worth living and it is hope that is the alternative to this hatred.

"So we offer today this contrast with the politics of terror."


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer