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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
Chirac announces air tax for aid
Children in Nairobi who have been orphaned by Aids
Mr Chirac said the revenue would fund Aids and TB campaigns
French President Jacques Chirac has said his government will take steps to introduce a tax on air tickets next year to fund additional aid for Africa.

In a speech to ambassadors on Monday, Mr Chirac also said France and other countries would propose a worldwide tax at a UN summit in September.

Correspondents say the French president has been urging other world leaders to impose a levy for some time.

In May, the EU agreed in principle to a voluntary tax on air travel.

However, only France, Belgium and Germany have said they will introduce a compulsory tax, while Malta, Cyprus and Ireland will give passengers a choice as to whether or not they pay it.

Some European countries and organisations are completely opposed to the tax, which is expected to be in the region of two to three euros.

'Levy of solidarity'

The tax will contribute to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation, a body set up by donor countries to buy vaccines.

Announcing the move, Mr Chirac said he would press the UN for an "international levy of solidarity on air tickets".

"Along with France, Germany, Algeria, Brazil, Chile and Spain have decided to take this project to New York together," he said, quoted by AFP news agency.

"In order to give it the broadest and fastest possible expression, France will welcome a ministerial conference in February 2006."

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