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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 19:09 GMT
Archbishop Tutu calls for G8 help
Desmond Tutu [archive photo]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke to delegates in Aberdeen
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called on world leaders at the planned G8 summit in Gleneagles to promote free trade with poorer countries.

The respected clergyman made the call before his keynote address at the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in Aberdeen on Thursday.

He asked the people of Scotland to call for politicians at the summit to put an end to subsidies which hamper trade.

He also called for an end to expensive taxes on anti-Aids drugs.

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Archbishop Tutu, a leading figures in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, was in the city to take part in an international conference on deepening democracy.

I hope you people here in Scotland will come out and say G8, do something useful
Archbishop Tutu

He was at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre to give the final speech at the three-day event.

Speaking ahead of addressing the more than 400 delegates, he called on the G8 countries and their leaders to help out their poorer counterparts.

He said: "I would hope they would begin to say, 'lets to do something about subsidies'.

"You ask the so-called-developing world, 'Why can't you people produce more?' - and they produce - and then they find that the markets have barriers that are put down or are clobbered twice over.

"I would hope that people would realise that ultimately it is in their own interest to begin to have a more equitable international economic system.

"So I hope you people here in Scotland will come out and say G8, do something useful."

The Archbishop then went on to use his keynote address to talk about the importance of strengthening democracy at a local level.

'Thank you'

He referred to the fight against apartheid in his homeland and said: "We are free today very largely because of the wonderful support that we received from the international community.

"It is a great privilege to be able to say on behalf, thank you, for us to become free and democratic. You made a telling contribution.

"National governments may have admirable policies and even budget for their implementation but if they do not get implemented at the local level then they are as good as non-existent.

"Central and second tier governments can talk until they are blue in their faces about their splendid policies, but unless the people at the coalface of life experience them through service delivery it is all vanity of vanities as the good book says in Ecclesiastes."

Other speakers at this week's conference have included First Minister Jack McConnell and Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon.

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