November 24, 2005

Geldof raps Italy over aid, says should give more

ROME (Reuters) - Irish rocker and charity champion Bob
Geldof criticised Italy on Thursday for failing to give more to
the world's poor and urged its leaders to help break a deadlock
in international trade talks.

Geldof, whose Live 8 concerts this year helped persuade the
leaders of the G8 richest nations to double aid to Africa, was
in Rome to receive the 2005 "Man for Peace" award handed out by
Nobel Peace Prize winners every year.

"Italy ... is the least generous of the developed world
with regard to aid and that is a shame. We ask the political
class, left or right, to change that," Geldof said.

Italy gives the smallest amount of aid contributions in
real terms within the G8, and despite pledges to boost the
handouts, they have actually dropped over the past few years.

Geldof said Italy should take the lead in salvaging World
Trade Organization talks at a meeting in Hong Kong next month,
blaming Europe's reluctance to make substantial cuts to farm
subsidies for an impasse he said helped keep Africa in poverty.

"Europe must break the deadlock in the negotiations in Hong
Kong and today they are refusing to do so," he said.

"Every surplus cow in Europe gets $2.50 a day in subsidies.
A human being in Africa lives on $1 a day. I completely reject
that idea of the world," he said.

Geldof, who was flanked by former Nobel Peace Prize winners
including Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa, told Reuters he
would prefer to receive a music award than the peace price.

"It's a beautiful statue, but, you know, I can get it, I
can go to the shop and buy a statue. They're only useful, if
you can use them. The ones I love getting are music awards,
because then I feel very proud of something I've done," he

"But these are political and they should be used
politically," he said.