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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

G8 Doubles Aid to Africa to $50 Billion

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- World leaders concluded an economic summit shaken by terrorism, offering an "alternative to the hatred" -- aid packages for Africa and the Palestinian Authority, and a pledge to address global climate change.

But reaction to the outcome was polarized: Rockers Bob Geldof and Bono, two of the world's best-known Africa fund raisers, declared victory. But aid groups said the pledges did not go nearly far enough.

"We speak today in the shadow of terrorism, but it will not obscure what we came here to achieve," British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the summit host, said Friday as he closed the three-day Group of Eight summit. "It is in the nature of politics that we do not achieve absolutely everything we hope to achieve, but nonetheless I believe we have made very substantial progress indeed."

With a last-minute pledge from Japan, Blair won a key victory, announcing that aid to Africa would rise from the current $25 billion to $50 billion by 2010.

Blair lost his push to get all summit countries to commit to boosting foreign aid to an amount equal to 0.7 percent of national income by 2015. Instead, a summit document said the European Union had agreed to that support but did not mention the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush had refused to be bound by the 0.7 percent target. The United States is giving 0.16 percent of national income, the smallest percentage of any of the G8 countries.

The meeting's major failure was in global warming, where staunch opposition from Bush thwarted Blair's efforts to get a U.S. commitment to firm targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

But Blair noted that all the G8 leaders took the unusual step of signing the final summit communiques as a way of demonstrating their determination to meet the new goals.

In a separate joint statement on terrorism, the leaders pledged new combined efforts against terrorism in light of the London bombings, including cooperation to improve the safety of rail and subway travel.

The G8 also agreed on an aid deal of up to $3 billion per year for the Palestinian Authority over the next three years, its joint communique said.

Aside from the increase in aid for Africa, the leaders pledged to set a date for ending subsidies on farm exports, which Blair said he believed would be done at the World Trade Organization meeting in December in Hong Kong.

The leaders also endorsed a deal reached by their finance ministers last month to cancel the debt of 18 of the world's poorest nations, pledged universal access to AIDS treatment, renewed their commitment to a peacekeeping force in Africa and heard African leaders promise to move toward democracies that follow the rule of law.

"All of this does not change the world tomorrow -- it is a beginning, not an end," Blair said, with leaders of the G8 and five African nations standing behind him. "And none of it today will match the same ghastly impact as the cruelty of terror. But it has a pride and a hope and humanity at its heart that can lift the shadow of terrorism and light the way to a better future."