ATN : The Edge says no to debt proposal by G8 - U2 France
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ATN : The Edge says no to debt proposal by G8

lundi 21 juin 1999

Source : ATN

From Addicted To Noise :

Thom Yorke, Edge, Bob Geldof Blast G8 Summit’s Debt-Relief PlanHigh-profile rockers join Bono, Perry Farrell and about 35,000protestors in Germany for economic meeting.

Contributing Editor Brian Hiatt reports :

Bono and the Edge of U2, former Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell,Bob Geldof and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke joined about 35,000demonstrators Saturday in calling on world leaders to forgive themassive debt owed by the world’s poorest countries.

The protestors’ goals were at least partially embraced by G8 Summitleaders meeting in Cologne, Germany, who used the occasion toannounce a new debt-relief program called "The Cologne Debt Initiative."The plan allows for $70 billion worth of new debt relief for impoverishedThird World nations, according to a White House statement.

Although it falls short of the full debt reduction requested by Jubilee2000 — the charity coalition that organized the protest — spokespersonAngela Travis said the new program was at least a partial victory forthe coalition.

But during a press conference Saturday, the Edge and Geldof calledthe plan inadequate, according to a partial transcript issued by theJubilee-affiliated organization Tearfund.

"It’s just a token. It’s what they can afford to do without really trying,"the Edge (born David Evans) said.

Geldof criticized the plan, calling it "a half measure, typical ofpoliticians," adding, "I would ask [leaders] to go with theirconsciences and do more."

Yorke was even harsher in his assessment of the plan, according toReuters. "They have done a cosmetic propaganda job. ... They are notaddressing the central issues and we need to make the pressure moredirect," he told the wire service.

Bono (born Paul Hewson) and Yorke were part of a small group whopersonally presented German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with apetition urging debt forgiveness. The petition was signed by 19 millionpeople around the world, according to Jubilee 2000.

Bono and Geldof, the latter of whom was founder of the massive 1985benefit concert Live Aid and is former singer for the British new-waveband Boomtown Rats, also discussed debt relief with British PrimeMinister Tony Blair in a 20-minute-long private meeting, according toTravis. Blair, Schroeder and U.S. President Bill Clinton were amongthe world leaders in Cologne for the meeting of economic powers.

During the day, Edge, Bono, Geldof, Farrell, Yorke and world musicstar Youssou N’Dour joined hands as part of a four-mile-long "humanchain" that stretched through Cologne, Travis said. The chain wasmeant to symbolize what Jubilee 2000 calls "debt slavery."

During the conference, Bono said his concern with world povertybegan with a visit to refugee camps in Ethiopia in 1985, after Irishrockers U2 performed at Live Aid, which raised money to aid thethen-starving country.

"I saw how dignified the people were in their poverty, and how theydespised the whole notion of aid," he said. "Years later, the ideas ofJubilee 2000 are the only ones that I have come across that will helpthem to get off their knees and stand proud."

He added that it was "absurd" that the participation of rock stars wasnecessary to bring attention to the cause of debt relief.

U2 have long been politically outspoken ; however, their 1983 album,War, which focused on the conflicts in Northern Ireland, firmlyestablished their activist reputation. Among their most popular politicalanthems is 1984’s "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (RealAudio excerpt),a tribute to slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Jubilee 2000 plans to continue its calls for total debt relief, Travis said,although no plans have been announced for the organization’s nextactions.

Jubilee spokesperson Paul Drummond had previously said theorganization was considering holding a major concert event in Africa,possibly on New Year’s Eve 1999.

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