Leaders of the Group of Eight major industrialized countries have promised to boost development in Africa and speed up debt relief for the continent.

G-8 members made their pledge during a meeting on Sunday with African presidents attending the G-8 summit in Evian, France.

They also endorsed plans by African leaders to build an African military peacekeeping force to help keep internal conflicts under control. The proposal is part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, an economic plan created by leaders of the African Union.

South African President Thabo Mbeki says European leaders also promised to contribute $1 billion a year to a global fund to fight AIDS, in response to an earlier U.S. pledge of $15 billion over five years to fight the disease.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan pressed the G-8 for more progress on debt and dismantling trade barriers to meet an ambitious plan to cut poverty, agreed to at a U.N. Millennium Summit in 2000.

African leaders have complained that the G-8 has not honored pledges made at earlier summits.