Vatican calls for debt relief for 38 countries

 Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, has called for debt relief to be extended to 38 countries. Speaking to the UN Economic and Social Council, in New York, he said: "The Holy See is pleased to associate itself with those who support the accord reached in London recently by the G8 finance ministers to cancel the debts of 18 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC). Debt remission measures, he added, "are just the start of that path, first of all because the measure in question needs to be extended to some 38 HIPC countries." "The G8 leaders, meeting at Gleneagles, Scotland, on July 6-8 next, must now pay attention to the demands of their own people and of civil society, and place before their respective legislatures bills that will lead to the immediate fulfilment of the accord's promises." In concluding remarks, Holy See permanent observer referred to development funding, specifically highlighting the "lack of financing for basic scientific research and for the industrial development of pharmaceutical products to combat the major tropical diseases such as malaria, as well as the lack of research in favour of agriculture in poorer regions." During the Angelus yesterday in St Peter's Square, Pope Benedict mentioned the G8 summit, scheduled to begin tomorrow at Gleneagles in Scotland. He said that one of the themes of the meeting was Africa, "a frequently forgotten continent," the Pope recalled, adding: "With all my heart, I wish full success to this meeting, in the hope that it may lead to sharing the costs of debt reduction in solidarity, implementing concrete measures for eradicating poverty and promoting authentic development in Africa." Source: VIS

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