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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 01:02 GMT 02:02 UK
Lula proposes hunger fund
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Lula said the proposal was well received by G8 members
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has unveiled a plan to create a global anti-hunger fund to world leaders attending the G8 summit in France.

The fund could be paid for by taxing global arms exports, he said.

The Brazilian president, known as Lula, was invited along with 11 other leaders of developing countries to take part in some of the discussions at the summit.

"Hunger cannot wait," he said, in lines from his speech quoted by Reuters news agency.

"My proposal is the creation of a global fund capable of feeding those who are hungry and at the same time creating the conditions to eradicate the structural causes of hunger."

Lula also proposed that richer nations could use a percentage of debt repayments from developing nations for the fund.

'No going back'

After the meeting Lula said that the proposal had been well-received by G8 members.

"Next year, the summit is in the United States, and I don't think President Bush will have the courage to not invite all of the countries that were present this year," he joked to journalists.

"There's no going back. Something new is happening in relations between rich and developing countries."

The Brazilian leader's idea was backed by French President Jacques Chirac, who said that the idea was "simple" yet effective.

"People must be able to eat three times a day, and that is not the case today," Mr Chirac said.

"This unacceptable situation must be debated."

The former trade unionist also asked G8 leaders not to discriminate against the products of developing countries in their trade policies.

Lula has been pushing controversial plans in his own country for a radical shake-up of Brazil's tax and pensions system in a bid to reform the country's faltering economy.

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