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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 03:30 GMT 04:30 UK
Mbeki urges G8 commitment
Thabo Mbeki
Mbeki: G8 countries have an "obligation" to report action taken
South African President Thabo Mbeki has called on the world's big industrialised powers to put their commitments to Africa and the developing world into action.

Speaking to the BBC on the eve of the G8 summit in the French resort town of Evian, Mr Mbeki said that African countries were "very unhappy" about the slow progress being made in writing off debts.

"We are at the point where we should say the global framework was agreed...now we must be at the stage of implementation," Mr Mbeki said.

"They [the industrialised countries] have an obligation themselves to report at this summit, at Evian, what they have done about the commitments that they made," he said.

Lifting trade barriers

The South African president said that the G8 had shown commitment towards Nepad, the development programme for Africa in which rich countries promise more aid and investment in return for efforts by African leaders to raise standards of government and monitor each other's performance.

Now, he said, G8 members in turn had to carry out their decisions, especially last year's agreement to extend debt relief to middle income countries.

Mr Mbeki also warned that G8 members must lift trade barriers on farm products from poor countries in order to lift millions out of poverty in the continent.

He said that any aid G8 members might announce for Africa at the summit would "not make sense" unless poor countries could export their goods more freely.

However Mr Mbeki welcomed US President George W Bush's announcement of a big contribution to the battle against Aids and called on the Europeans to respond in kind.

And on the proposal for a permanent African peacekeeping force, Mr Mbeki said what was now needed was a firm G8 decision to help with resources and logistics.




WATCH AND LISTEN
South African President Thabo Mbeki
"The G8 generally has responded very well to Nepad... but we will have to see the statements translated into action"



SEE ALSO:
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