Ex British PM Blair urges G8 to keep aid on agenda

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Former British premier Tony Blair urged leaders at an upcoming G8 summit in Canada not to let aid for Africa slip off their agenda despite global financial problems in an interview out Wednesday.

When Blair was in power, Britain hosted the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005 which was seen as forcing the issue of aid for Africa back up the international agenda and yielding a series of key pledges.

With the G8 summit in Huntsville, 225 kilometres (140 miles) north of Toronto, looming on June 25 and 26, the picture looks different due to economic problems, although Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the G8 agenda must focus on "helping the poorest and most vulnerable".

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Blair said: "I don't think there has been a G8 quite like" Gleneagles in terms of commitments made on Africa.

"There is a huge focus self-evidently on the global economy right now," he added. "But we want very much to see that it does not fall off the G8 agenda."

Blair's current projects include an initiative promoting good governance in Africa.

© 2010 AFP

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