Aid agency condemns conference outcome

 CAFOD has reacted with dismay to the G8's failure to deliver a significant breakthrough on debt relief at the Okinawa summit. Speaking from the Japanese island, Henry Northover, CAFOD's policy officer said: "CAFOD is bitterly disappointed by the G8's statement on debt relief. It offers nothing new and merely recycles old promises that were given a year ago and have still not been made good. Even if these commitments were delivered, they do not offer the poorest countries an escape from the crushing burden of debt. "It is sickening to sit amidst the splendour of the Okinawa summit knowing that 800 million dollars has been spent to provide a platform for the world's most powerful men to tell us that there is nothing new to offer in debt relief to the poorest people on earth. It is ironic that the most expensive summit yet has delivered so little to the poor." Zambian aid worker Fr Joe KomaKoma, who is in the UK to take part in the Jubilee 2000 Summit Watch activities, said: "While the G8 dither on debt, doctors in my country have been on strike for seven months to get basic medical supplies including cotton wool and surgical gloves. How many more lives are going to be sacrificed before the G8 wake up to the human tragedy caused by debt?" Julian Filochowski, CAFOD's director, said: "The G8 leaders are expected to make statements this weekend on education and global health including malaria, AIDS and TB. To borrow from St Paul, although they speak with all the eloquence of statesmen and angels, without new debt write-offs they are like gongs booming and cymbals clashing. Without adequate debt relief their declarations will be worth nothing at all."

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