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 user 2005-06-26 at 10:19:00 am Views: 86
  • #11712

    Geldof Wants Pope to Join G8 Poverty March

    ROME,June 05- Bob Geldof, the rock-star-turned anti-poverty campaigner, called on Pope Benedict on Tuesday to join the protest near next month’s G8 summit to add his voice to the throngs who will be calling for action to help Africa.

    In Rome to promote the Italian stage of the international Live 8 concert on July 2, Geldof said he had written to the Pope about his campaign but had only received a photograph of the Pontiff in return.

    “I don’t want a picture, I want him to come to Edinburgh,” Geldof told a news conference. “Benedict has great theologies. For many years he has been singing the songs of the poor. I want him to come and sing with us in Edinburgh.”

    The Group of Eight club of rich nations will meet in Gleneagles, Scotland, on July 6-8 and Geldof has called on people to march to nearby Edinburgh to demonstrate for action to relieve poverty.

    He said Tony Blair had also written to the Pope to invite him to the summit, which will focus on Africa and climate change, but a spokesman for the British prime minister denied this.

    Geldof recalled that he and fellow Irish anti-poverty rock star Bono met Benedict’s predecessor John Paul at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo in 1999 to discuss third world debt and said he had influenced Western leaders on the issue.

    Geldof, who was behind the original Band Aid charity record and the 1985 Live Aid concert for Africa, stressed the political nature of the Live 8 concerts, compared to the money-raising aims of Live Aid.

    “Despite Live Aid raising $200 million, it’s clear that individual charity will not provide the solution for what’s in fact an infrastructural political problem.”

    It would be extremely unusual for a pope to attend a political event such as the “Make Poverty History Rally” planned for Edinburgh, but Geldof said it was “where he belongs.”

    “We need the moral leaders, the spiritual leaders,” he said.