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Bush Prepares for G-8 Summit

President Bush visits Germany in the coming week for the annual meeting of the world's leading industrialized nations, known as the G-8 summit. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on the president's agenda for the meeting.

President Bush says leaders of the G-8 nations will discuss ways they can advance trade, fight disease, promote development, increase access to education, and address the long-term challenge of global climate change. In his weekly radio address, the president said it is in America's interests to help these efforts succeed.

"When we help lift societies out of poverty, we create new markets for American goods and new jobs for American workers. When we help reduce chaos and suffering, we make America safer, because prosperous nations are less likely to breed violence and export terror."

In the days leading up to the G-8 summit, Mr. Bush appeared to address some European concerns about his commitment to climate change. He vowed to set voluntary goals for reducing U.S. greenhouse gases by the end of next year. He says America is investing billions of dollars in clean energy technologies and will share that information with developing nations.

In the Democratic radio address, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey dismissed the president's new plan for climate change as shifting from denial to delay. Markey says the president has failed to set any meaningful limits on the pollution believed responsible for global warming, lagging behind European allies such as Germany, which is meeting new energy demands with solar cells.

"The agenda for the G-8 summit is clear and urgent," he said. "The world needs to set binding limits on the emissions of heat-trapping pollution that causes climate change. The world's most renowned scientists now agree that our rapidly warming climate is man-made not natural."

G-8 leaders will meet with a number of African heads of state at their summit to discuss support for good governance and anti-corruption measures.

President Bush this past week called on Congress to spend $30 billion over the next five years to help fight AIDS in Africa. He also launched a program to help African nations get the technical assistance they need to strengthen their financial markets.

"And it will encourage the international financial community to create several new private equity funds that will mobilize up to $1 billion of new private investment in Africa," he added. "By taking these steps, we can help African entrepreneurs access capital, so they can grow their businesses and create jobs across the continent."

The president asked Congress to spend $525 million over the next five years to help provide a quality education for up to four million children in poor nations.

Mr. Bush also tightened U.S. economic sanctions against Sudan and called on the U.N. Security Council to stop Khartoum from conducting offensive military flights over the troubled Darfur region, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced since 2003.

"The people of Darfur have suffered long enough. We will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world," he said.

In addition to the G-8 summit in Germany, President Bush will also visit the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Albania, and Bulgaria.