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Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 09:49 GMT
Bono hails Bush's Aids funding
Bono and President George W Bush
Bono says Europe needs to match the US contribution
U2 frontman Bono has welcomed US President George Bush's decision to spend more on Aids prevention in Africa and the Caribbean.

The US leader is to increase the country's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief budget by $10 billion (6.28bn) to $15 billion (9.43bn) over the next five years.

President Bush said on Tuesday the budget would help prevent seven million new infections.

"If we can turn the president's bold long term vision into near term results we're excited," Bono said in a statement.

"Any delay in increased funding means more lives lost and an even bigger cheque in the future."

Nelson Mandela
Bono was working with Nelson Mandela on an Aids benefit concert
The singer says the US needs to spend $2.5bn (1.5bn) out of this year's budget to help tackle the Aids crisis.

He said Europe must also match the US contribution.

But he said the American donation was a big step in the right direction.

"The president's emphasis upon anti-retroviral treatment represents a true paradigm shift and is to be wholly welcomed," he said.

Debt campaigner

Bono, whose band U2 have been one of the biggest rock groups in the world since the mid-1980s, has become an outspoken fundraiser for Third World problems in recent years.

He was instrumental in the Drop The Debt campaign, which wiped out millions of dollars of international debt owed by Third World governments.

The 42-year-old also tried to set up an Aids benefit concert in South Africa for next month, but the project was recently shelved.

The Irish star also recently travelled the world to lobby world leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac, to encourage them to contribute more aid relief to developing countries.

See also:

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