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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Stars steer clear of summit
Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio called on President Bush to attend
International stars of film and music have failed to put in expected appearances at the beginning of the World Development Summit in Johannesburg.

Leonardo DiCaprio cancelled an appearance despite recently calling on President Bush to travel to the summit.

He was due to support a project to save great apes, but has pulled out because of "contractual obligations" in the United States.

Bono
Bono went on a recent campaigning tour of Africa
Thelma and Louise star Susan Sarandon and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart were among the other celebrities to call upon President Bush to make the trip to South Africa.

Earlier in August, DiCaprio used a rally to say: "President Bush, please go prepared to join the vast majority of nations in constructing a concrete plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

But the celebrity count at the event has been low, with little of the high-profile glitz that was supplied by stars including Sting, John Denver and the Beach Boys at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Organisers had hoped the presence of worldwide stars could help raise the profile of the event among those who may not have otherwise taken an interest.

Even the best-known celebrity campaigners, such as U2 singer Bono, Bob Geldof and Radiohead's Thom Yorke, have not made the trip.

Bono recently went on a 10-day tour of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa with US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.

Cynicism

The 1992 summit also saw Hollywood stars Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine add their voices to campaigns.

This time, West African singers Salif Keita and Femi Kuti performed at a summit concert, while South Africa's veteran "White Zulu" Johnny Clegg has been playing at music venues.

"Ten years ago people thought the governments really wanted to change the world," according to Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth.

"There has been a huge growth in cynicism since then.

"Now the public expectations for the summit are that it won't achieve a great amount and people don't really want to be too clearly associated with it."


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