UN summit has failed Africa, says Geldof

Sir Bob Geldof accused world leaders of backsliding on their historic commitments to combat poverty at the Gleneagles summit as he gave the United Nations' conference only four marks out of 10.

The Live8 organiser told a press conference at the UN's 60th anniversary summit in New York yesterday that the organisation had missed an opportunity to build on the pledge to double aid to Africa made by G8 leaders in July.

He said the section of the UN summit declaration on trade subsidies was "a clawback" from the agreement at Gleneagles, which raised the prospect of a timetable for eliminating them.

Sharing a platform with Tony Blair, Sir Bob gave a less positive verdict on the UN summit than the Prime Minister following criticism from some aid groups that he had oversold what was achieved at Gleneagles and become too close to the Government. The former rock star said he felt "a sense of disappointment" because the UN gathering had originally been called to review progress on its Millennium Development Goals to tackle poverty and disease but had been "suborned" by other issues. The progress made by the G8 "should have been accelerated and added to in the UN", he said.

The UN statement on debt was "not good enough for the world forum" and he warned that there would be a "disaster" if the International Monetary Fund and World Bank did not approve the G8's plans when they meet later this month.

At the same press conference, Mr Blair acknowledged the need to ensure that the "pressure is kept up" so that the G8 leaders' commitments were adhered to.

But he insisted the Gleneagles pledges on aid had been "safeguarded" at the New York meeting, which ends today when the General Assembly will approve a 35-page declaration that has been watered down from the original goals set by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general.

[From article written by Andrew Grice]

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