Reuters : Pavarotti to Raise Profile of Debt Relief Crusade - U2 France
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Reuters : Pavarotti to Raise Profile of Debt Relief Crusade

lundi 21 février 2000

Source : Reuters

From Reuters :

Pavarotti to Raise Profile of Debt Relief CrusadeBy Jude Webber

ROME (Reuters) - Opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti will use hisappearance at Italy’s biggest music festival to urge developed countriesto write off $300 billion (188 billion pounds) in Third World debt, theJubilee 2000 lobby group has said.

"Pavarotti has been quite clear — he’s doing the San Remo festival tosupport Jubilee 2000," Jamie Drummond, a spokesman for the group,told Reuters by telephone from the northwestern resort where thefestival starts tonight.

Other big names will use appearances at the festival which ends onSaturday to press for Third World debt relief.

But Irish pop star Bono, the lead singer of band U2 and a key figure inthe Jubilee 2000 campaign for debt relief, told the Rome newspaper IlMessaggero he would only attend the festival’s finale on Saturday ifItalian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema made a pledge on debt cuts.

"I’ll come if I can bring good news from D’Alema, whom I would like tomeet," the paper quoted him as saying. Bono met Pope John Paul lastSeptember in Rome to discuss debt relief.

Drummond said Italy’s pledges to date, in the form of a bill expected togo before parliament soon, would only write off some three trillion lire(956 million pounds) in debts from the poorest countries.

"D’Alema’s proposal is fairly inadequate," he said. Jubilee 2000 says Italy is owed 8.5 trillion lire by 52 poor countries.

Drummond said rich nations needed to write off $300 billion, which hesaid would "cancel debts that are being repaid at the cost of schools,hospitals and children’s lives".

Drummond pointed to the success of last year’s British music industryawards ceremony, the Brit Awards, where the debt relief cause wasespoused by Bono, David Bowie and Muhammad Ali.

Two days after the Brit Awards, Chancellor Gordon Brown said he wouldpropose to the G7 group of industrialised nations that they speed updebt relief and wipe out $50 billion (31.3 billion pounds) of debt.

The G7 agreed last June to cancel about $70 billion in loans to help 36nations emerge from the debt trap.

Drummond said that within three days of last September’s meetingbetween Bono and the Pope, U.S. President Bill Clinton pledged tocancel all debts.

"We know this kind of thing works," he said.

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