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    Bush Proposes to Double US Aid to Africa by 2010

    George W. Bush
    President Bush is proposing to double U.S. aid to Africa in the next five years.

    In comments to VOA and other news agencies Thursday in Washington, Mr. Bush said aid to Africa has already tripled during his administration.

    White House officials say the president is proposing to increase aid to Africa from $4.3 billion in 2004 to $8.6 billion in 2010.

    Mr. Bush was speaking ahead of next week's summit of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations, which will focus heavily on African development.

    President Bush also said the U.S. aid package would include continued assistance to fight AIDS, a $1.2 billion initiative to combat Malaria, and $400 million to help educate girls in Africa.

    VOA's Joe De Capua was among the reporters who spoke with Mr. Bush and says the president noted that besides direct aid from the U.S. government, Americans contribute billions of dollars each year to Africa. He does say his Millennium Challenge Account has been slow to dole out money to African nations, and promises to speed the process.

    The account was set up to provide aid to countries that met conditions for good governance and anti-corruption efforts.

    The administration has not endorsed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposal for $25 billion a year for the continent.

    Mr. Bush also says the best way to end the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region is to support the African Union while pressuring both the government and rebels to reach a settlement. American support for AU peacekeepers, he says, includes 16 additional base camps, maintenance services and a C-130 aircraft.

    During the session with reporters Mr. Bush rejected skepticism about his linking the terrorist attacks in the United States with Iraq, he said the ideology of the 9/11 hijackers "is very similar to those who have now gone into Iraq to try to stop the progress." He says 9/11 was a "clear indication" that the United States is "at war with an ideology."

    Regarding Iran, Mr. Bush says he would like to see Britain, Germany and France, which he calls the EU-3, take a strong stand on Tehran's nuclear program. He says, "It is very important to send a strong message" to Iran's president-elect "that the world is united in saying it should not be given the capabilities of enriching uranium, which could then be converted into a nuclear weapon."

    Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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