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VOA-TV Interview With Steve Radelet - 2003-06-02


VOA TV Host David Borgida talks with Steven Radelet, a Senior Fellow at the Center For Global Development in Washington, DC, about the G-8 Summit.

MR. BORGIDA
And now joining us to discuss the G-8 summit, Steven Radelet, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development here in Washington. Thanks for joining us, Mr. Radelet.

MR. RADELET
My pleasure.

MR. BORGIDA
In some ways the Chirac-Bush moment there at the table outside and the overall effort to improve relations threatened in some way to overshadow the summit, don't you think?

MR. RADELET
I think so. I think that people were watching very carefully to see how the relationship would evolve between the United States and France in particular but also the United States and Germany and some of the other G-8 partners since the relationship had been frayed over the Iraq war. And as a result of that, some of the key issues that they had hoped to discuss I think got less prominent.

MR. BORGIDA
Let's talk about a couple of the other key issues that are not making headlines, and AIDS is one.

MR. RADELET
AIDS is one. They really had said that they were going to focus much of the agenda here on developing countries. And they did in fact meet with some leaders of some of the developing countries and wanted to talk about AIDS. What came out of it was a pledge from many of the G-8 leaders to increase funding for HIV/AIDS, but nothing very concrete. France said that it would increase some of its funding, the U.K. some as well, but the others have pledged in theory that they would increase the funding but didn't really come with solid pledges.

MR. BORGIDA
Any other issues on the agenda that we are not hearing that much about in terms of the developing world?

MR. RADELET
Yes, I think that trade was another one of the issues that was supposed to receive more prominence and, behind closed doors, perhaps it did, but we really aren't hearing much about it. Of course, we are entering a new round of trade talks, which will have profound implications for countries around the world, particularly low-income countries. But it is off to a slow start and there hasn't been much movement on agricultural subsidies and other protective measures that the U.S. and Europe and Japan follow. And there had been some hope that at this summit they would talk about some of those issues and begin to make some progress on it, but it doesn't look like there was really much progress there.

MR. BORGIDA
The President of the United States is already in Egypt, having left the summit a day early. Any negative repercussions from that, do you think, in terms of his travel schedule?

MR. RADELET
All of the leaders went to pains to say that his early departure was expected and understandable. My guess is that there is some reason behind that, that the U.S. was in fact trying to send a bit of a message that all is not quite well with the relationship with France in particular. And while they were willing to certainly start the process of reconciliation over the weekend, things are not perfectly back to normal yet. So, I think there is a message in leaving early, even though it is for very important reasons.

MR. BORGIDA
And clearly the Europeans are interested in seeing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can come to an end, and in fact have been encouraging the United States to do more.

MR. RADELET
That's right. And this is an enormously important step. The Bush administration had really stepped back from discussing the Middle East and moving forward for the first two years of its administration, but now it does seem to be making a serious effort of engagement. And that could be the most important thing that happens in the region, and Europe is quite interested in that as well.

MR. BORGIDA
Steven Radelet, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development here in Washington. Mr. Radelet, thanks so much for your time.

MR. RADELET
Thanks. My pleasure to be here.

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