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G-8 Negotiations Continue on Africa, Climate Change

Leaders at G-8 summit in Scotland
Officials at the summit in Scotland of the seven leading industrial nations and Russia continue seeking compromise on the top two agenda items of how to fight poverty in Africa and deal with global warming.

Normally, most of the language of a Group of Eight summit is worked out before the leaders gather for their annual meeting.

But this year is different, as the biggest industrial powers grapple with how to bring Africa out of poverty, and as they debate what can be done about global warming.

The host of this year's summit, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, says he is hopeful a deal can be struck on a comprehensive package to assist Africa. "I hope that on debt and on trade and on aid, on conflict resolution, corruption and governance we can put together a package over the next couple of days that allows us to put this issue in a different place. It won't make poverty history overnight, but it allows us to claim plausibly that we can do that in the coming years," he said.

The Irish rock star Bono, of the group U-2, is an activist on the anti-poverty campaign. He joined fellow campaigners in meeting President Bush and several other Group of Eight leaders Wednesday. Afterward, he said an accord remains elusive on a key goal that aid to Africa be increased to $50-billion a year.

"There is a sense that there is not a deal at the moment. A lot has been accomplished but there is no sense that a real deal, the 50 billion dollar number, we're not there on that. The trade language, we're not there on that. The debt stuff, we're there on that. It's tricky. These people are making very difficult choices," he said.

There is also disagreement on what to do about climate change. The United States opposes calls from other G-8 nations to sharply cut emissions of greenhouse gases that many scientists blame for the problem. President Bush instead favors more investment in non-polluting technologies.

The leaders will discuss global warming Thursday, and meet with leaders from Mexico, Brazil, India, China and South Africa.