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Sinn Féin MEP challenges world leaders on global poverty

6 July, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for the Six Counties Bairbre de Brún has today challenged world leaders to 'make a real difference by assisting the developing world in their fight against poverty.'

Ms de Brún was speaking from Strasbourg as MEPs gathered to vote on the issue of global poverty in the European Parliament. Ms McDonald supported the resolution on tackling world poverty and also signed a white ribbon, which stretched around the plenary chamber of the parliament building, calling on world leaders to 'Make Poverty History'. The ribbon will be sent to the G8 Summit at Gleneagles.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Over this past number of months a tremendous momentum has built up across the world to challenge global injustice and poverty. This year presents a historic opportunity for the EU and its Member States to demonstrate their leadership on development issues at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, at the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Conference in New York in September and at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December,

"320 million Africans live on less than one dollar a day and the situation has been aggravated by the fact that 25 million of the 40 million people who are HIV-positive live in Africa.

"The debt cancellation announced by Tony Blair on the eve of the G8 summit, covering 2 billion dollars a year applies to 18 of the 165 developing countries and concerns only International Financial Institutions.

"Combating global poverty will require all donors to increase the quantity and improve the quality of aid, make trade fairer and relieve unsustainable debt. Two thirds of developing countries spend more on servicing debt than on basic social services.

"Moreover, much aid remains 'tied aid', meaning that money is often given on the condition that goods and services are bought from the donor country.

"Developing countries should not be forced by international agreements into adopting economic policies that are against the interests of their own populations, such as privatising basic services such as education, health or water supply.

"People across the world are expecting action, and rightly questioning the commitment of world leaders to adequately address these issues. We require action, not empty rhetoric." ENDS

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