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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Bono petitions leaders over debt
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo with UN Secretary General Kofi  Annan and U2 singer Bono
Bono shakes President Obasanjo's hand as Kofi Annan looks on
Rock star Bono has delivered a petition containing 21.2 million signatures to the UN Millennium Summit, asking them to cancel Third World debt.

The U2 frontman handed the document over to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on day two of the conference in New York.

The summit is the largest gathering of world leaders in history.

Bono, who was accompanied by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, said: "You know we can make a real difference and give a fresh start to a billion people who are living on, what is it, less than a dollar a day."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and U2 singer Bono
Sealed with a hug: Kofi Annan and Bono

He told reporters outside: "It's madness that a pop star has to be standing here. Somebody else should be doing this, somebody else more qualified."

"But you know what? They don't have time. They're not bad guys in Washington, they're just busy guys."

Jubilee 2000

The 40-year-old singer is part of the star-studded Jubilee 2000 campaign to bring an end to world debt.

The group is pressing for Western leaders to write off up to and $350 billion in "unpayable" arrears.

After the meeting with Annan, Bono vowed to get debt relief "up the list of priorities".

The world record amount of signatures and thumbprints on the petition were collected from 155 countries and include those of David Bowie, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Muhammad Ali and the Dalai Lama.

Annan said: "I hope this symbolic gesture made by ordinary people tells their governments that this is serious and I hope that the message gets through."

See also:

20 Jul 00 | debt
Q & A: Dropping the debt
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
U2 singer in trouble over outburst
07 Sep 00 | Americas
Castro disarms summit with joke
10 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Bono grabs Berlin spotlight
12 Mar 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: The Million Dollar Hotel
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