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Galloway claims Africa deception

BBC News | July 6, 2005

Ministers are using aid for Africa to cover up for the disaster of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, MP George Galloway has claimed.

Mr Galloway told MPs the government was cynically trying to turn around its international reputation "on the sea of bodies" caused by poverty.

In a Commons debate on this week's G8 summit, the Respect MP said the G8 system itself had to be overturned.

But minister Kim Howells accused him of "self-righteous paranoia".

Deception charge

Mr Galloway called Tuesday's adjournment debate and delivered his first speech since winning Bethnal Green and Bow from Labour at the election.

He said Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had been "rumbled" by Make Poverty History campaigners.

The MP argued the government was wrongly suggesting it was pushing for all debts from developing countries to be written off.

" The government are engaged in a carefully calculated deception of public opinion to try and draw a veil over the disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan "

George Galloway MP

They had reduced poverty problems to a question of heavily conditional cancellation of some countries' debts, he said.

"The government are engaged in a carefully calculated deception of public opinion to try and draw a veil over the disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

Status Quo

Ministers were trying to "scramble up at least the foot hills of the moral high ground on the greatest issue facing the world today", said Mr Galloway.

He said: "For me [Blair and Brown] are not the Lennon and McCartney of world development issues.

"They are the Status Quo and it's a mangy status quo which will do nothing to resolve the ocean of misery and poverty that exists in the world."

He said the privatisations and the IMF, World Bank, venture capitalists and the "robber barons" of globalised corporations had left poor countries strangled by free market reforms.

"We won't make poverty history until we make the G8 and their system history," he said, pointing to unfair trade rules.

Sloganising

Mr Galloway added: "The poor countries are poor because the rich countries became rich in part through making them and keeping them poor.

"Until a seismic shift of wealth is transferred to the people we robbed then justice will not be done."

But Foreign Office Minister Mr Howells said Mr Galloway was using easy political sound bites and slogans as a substitute for proper argument.

He said he could not pre-empt the talks taking place at this week's Gleneagles summit, chaired by the UK Government.

But he promised the negotiations were detailed and were not a sham.

Mr Howells said: "Our G8 agenda is deliberately ambitious. This government believes that future generations would not understand if we failed to take this opportunity for progress."

The minister argued a real difference could be made through the existing international machinery.

Attempts to encourage a revolution against capitalism had only brought poverty and war, he suggested.

" Our G8 agenda is deliberately ambitious. This government believes that future generations would not understand if we failed to take this opportunity for progress "

Kim Howells
Foreign Office Minister

"We have got to work with what we have got," he said, admitting it was not perfect.

Mr Howells said dicatators in Africa had not just come from the right-wing but included left-wingers such as Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

"They're not just American puppets, they were Soviet puppets," he added.

 

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