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Bush, Blair Pledge More Aid for Africa

US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in Washington Tuesday that they are working on a plan to eliminate all debt of developing African countries deemed to be on a path to reform.

Those African nations "should not be burdened with mountains of debt," Bush said at a news briefing with Blair at the side.

"Helping those who suffer" in Africa is "a central commitment of my presidency," Bush said, "We're committed to doing more in the future."

Bush announced that his country will provide another US$ 674 million as humanitarian aid to Africa. He said that US$ 414 million of this would be to provide immediate help to avert a looming famine crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Blair, who is expected to push for cancellation of all debt in the poor nations of Africa when he hosts the Group of Eight summit of industrial nations in Scotland in July, said "I think we are well on the way" to the agreement.

The latest US contribution is in addition to the US$ 1.4 billion the United States has already pledged to contribute to the United Nations' Africa fund, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

(Xinhua News Agency June 8, 2005)

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