July 2, 2005

UK’s Brown hails anti-poverty campaign

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Gordon Brownwill pledge later on Saturday to continue fighting for debtrelief and aid for the world's poorest countries and for atimetable to end trade-distorting export subsidies.

Brown will congratulate the Make Poverty History coalitionof charities, churches and other groups in a speech inEdinburgh for its work in raising awareness of the plight ofAfrica.

"We are today seeing Britain at its best, united as one fora great cause," he will say at a Christian Aid rally afterSaturday's Make Poverty History march in Scotland's capital.

"Twenty years ago the call was for charity, donations tothe powerless and the poor," Brown will say, according toTreasury officials.

"Today at Live 8 the call is for justice, the empowermentof the powerless and the poor," he will say, drawing acomparison between Saturday's rock concerts to raise awarenessof Africa and the 1985 Live Aid concerts to raise funds forfamine relief.

Brown, who is widely expected to take over from Tony Blairas British prime minister in the next few years, will say MakePoverty History is exposing the suffering of the millionsstruggling in poor countries and serves as a beacon of hope.

"Round the world people, whether in rallies or concerts,are coming together in a movement of millions for debt relief,aid and trade justice," Brown will tell the campaigners.

"We have come a long way and have still a long way to go.This is more than a week's work at the G8. It is a lifetime'swork across the world."

Both Brown and Blair have championed the cause of Africaand Brown has pushed other rich nations to cancel African debt.

Some campaigners, however, have criticized the West for notwiping out the debts of more countries and for attachingeconomic policy conditions to debt write-offs.