June 30, 2005

U.S. to do more for Africa but with conditions-Bush

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States will offer moreresources to help Africa but only where it is convinced Africangovernments are acting responsibly, President Bush said in aninterview published on Thursday.

Speaking the week before a Group of Eight (G8) summit ofmajor industrialized nations in Scotland to focus on aid toAfrica and climate change, Bush said his government had a"great record" on Africa and was ready to do more for thecontinent.

"We'll make some more commitments," Bush told The Times ofLondon, without specifying what pledges he would make.

But Bush also made clear the United States was only willingto help governments it believed were spending money wisely.

"Americans want to deal with poverty and hunger. Disease.But they don't want their money being spent on governments thatdo not focus attention on health, education, markets,anti-corruption devices," Bush said.

In a sign that a deal on Africa and climate change is stillfar from done, officials from G8 nations will meet in Londonover the next two days to try to hammer out the best agreementpossible, said British officials.

They said it was unusual for such hard negotiations to betaking place this late, adding this year's G8 chairman BritishPrime Minister Tony Blair wanted to get as ambitious a packageas possible.

Bush said he could not offer American generosity withoutbeing able to guarantee the money was being spent properly.

"It's just not good stewardship of our own money, nor is iteffective in helping the people," he said.

Anti-poverty campaigners want the G8 nations to doublefinancial aid to Africa, cut African countries' debts anddismantle trade barriers to allow more African products intoWestern markets.

Blair has largely endorsed their agenda.

On the world's climate, Bush did not respond directly whenasked whether he thought the planet was getting warmer and, ifso, whether human activity was responsible. Restating U.S.policy, he said more research was needed.

That stance is at odds with other G8 nations who say theworld is already getting warmer and that activity such as airtravel and industry are at least partly to blame.

"I believe that greenhouse gases are creating a problem, along-term problem that we have got to deal with," Bush said.

"And we are -- step one of dealing with it is to fullyunderstand the nature of the problem so that the solutions thatfollow make sense."

(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers)