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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Geldof 'not too close' to leaders
Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof said he expected to be a 'whipping boy'
Bob Geldof has denied claims that he has become "too close" to G8 leaders during his anti-poverty campaigning.

The charity War on Want said the co-organiser of this summer's Live 8 concerts thought he was "bigger than" the cause and had his "own strategy".

But Mr Geldof told the Guardian it did not matter "one whit" how well he knew politicians, adding: "Some I like, some I'm indifferent to."

G8 leaders have pledged to increase aid to poorer countries by $50bn (27.4bn).

'Vague notion'

The group also agreed to cancel the debt of 18 African nations.

Some charities have complained that the aid increase - decided at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in July - is not enough and that much of the money is not new.

John Coventry, of War on Want, said of Mr Geldof: "He got too close to the government, and he got burned."

Dave Timms, of poverty pressure group the World Development Movement, said Live 8 had "displaced" the work of the Make Poverty History campaign with a "wall of celebrities, and no message beyond a vague notion about caring for the poor and wanting politicians to 'do something'."

However, Mr Geldof said: "You're a rallying point and therefore a whipping boy at the same time, and that's part and parcel of the gig...[But] unless you engage with the political process, you aren't going to get political and economic justice."

He added: "Live 8 forced through several deals at Gleneagles, the aid deal and the debt deal, neither of which were perfect but which were nevertheless far beyond our wildest dreams a year ago."

Leaders also pledged to create universal access to anti-HIV drugs in Africa by 2010.

EU members of the G8 promised to reach a collective aid target of 0.56% of GDP by 2010, and 0.7% by 2015

An estimated nine million people in the UK watched the Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park on television.


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