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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Geldof defends debt campaign
Bob Geldof
Geldof makes no apologies for the shocking ads
Rock star Bob Geldof has defended a "shock" advertising campaign urging world leaders to cancel the debt of the world's poorest countries.

The ads depict a healthy Western baby breast feeding from a malnourished African woman with the question "Haven't we taken enough?".

We must not let it fall off the agenda

Bob Geldof
Drop the Debt campaigners said a complaint had been received about the advert from the Advertising Standards Authority just a day after the posters were put up across London.

But Geldof said: "We make no apologies for this photo."

Other supporters of Drop the Debt include U2's Bono and the Pope.

'Crippling issue'

The campaign is targeting the July summit of the group of eight (G8) leading industrial countries in Genoa, Italy.

"There is nothing in it which is not true and this is a single crippling issue that imbalances the world morally as well as financially," said Geldof.

He added: "We must not let it fall off the agenda."

Geldof, who has praised the British Government's efforts, is calling for debt payments to be reduced quicker.

A global Aids campaign is being hindered by interest payments African countries are having to make, said Geldof.

Debt payments

He said: "People must realise that even if Africans get the Aids drugs they need, they can't afford the syringes or doctors they need to administer them without the money from debt relief."

Drop the Debt calculates that African countries spend around $13.5bn (9.6bn) a year repaying debts to rich countries.

The G7 group of the world's richest countries (before the inclusion of Russia), the International Monetary Fund and World Bank launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in 1996 with the aim of cancelling the debts of the world's 41 poorest countries.

So far only 23 countries have seen their debt payments fall.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rebecca Pike
"For the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, debt amounts to 200 million per week"
Debt campaigner Bob Geldof
"We don't need the money, they don't have the money to repay it"
See also:

20 Jul 00 | debt
07 Sep 00 | Americas
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
10 Feb 00 | Entertainment
08 Sep 00 | Entertainment
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