GLENEAGLES, Scotland - World leaders on Friday concluded an economic summit shaken by terrorism, offering an "alternative to the hatred" — a $50 billion aid package for Africa and up to $9 billion in additional support for the Palestinians over the next three years.
"We speak today in the shadow of terrorism, but it will not obscure what we came here to achieve," British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the summit host, said to close the three-day gathering.
"It is in the nature of politics that we do not achieve absolutely everything we hope to achieve, but nonetheless I believe we have made very substantial progress indeed," Blair told reporters at a closing news conference.
With a last-minute pledge from Japan, Blair won a key victory, announcing that aid to Africa would rise from the current $25 billion annually to $50 billion by 2010. The United States did not make any additional pledges beyond Bush's announcement last week that he would seek to double U.S. aid to Africa by 2010.
Blair lost his push to get all summit countries to commit to boosting foreign aid to an amount equal to 0.7 percent of national income by 2015. Instead, a summit document said the European Union had agreed to that support but did not mention the United States.
President Bush had refused to be bound by the 0.7 percent target. The United States is currently giving 0.16 percent of national income, the smallest percentage of any of the G-8 countries.
Blair ticked off a list of accomplishments from a meeting that nonetheless produced less than he hoped going in. The major failure was in the area of global warming, where staunch opposition from Bush thwarted Blair's efforts to get a U.S. commitment to firm targets for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for warming the earth's atmosphere.
He noted all the G-8 leaders took the unusual step of signing the final summit communiques as a way of demonstrating their determination to meet the new goals.
"If we implement this, we will make poverty history," Blair told reporters.
Not bad though!
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