THE G8 courrnuEs have delivered a snub to groups campaigning for the abolition of the debts of the world's poorest countries, writes Antoine Lokongo.
World leaders admitted a need to speed up debt relief during a three-day summit at Okinawa, Japan, but claimed military conflicts in some nations were blocking progress.
Cafod, the Catholic overseas aid agency, said it was dismayed by the G8's failure to deliver a significant breakthrough on debt relief at the Okinawa summit.
Henry Northover, Cafod's policy officer, speaking from Japan, said: "Okinawa offers nothing new and merely recycles old promises that were given a year ago and have still not been made good.
"Even if these commitments are delivered, they do not offer the poorest countries an escape from the crushing burden of debt."
John Garrett of the debt relief movement. Jubilee 2000, said: "The G8's worries about the pace of relief being stalled by countries at war amount to nothing more than warm words. Debt cancellation must not be held hostage to the international arms trade."
Director Ann Pettifor added: 'Their failure to act on Third World debt was the defining moment of the summit."
Last week, Bishop David Konstant of Leeds, the chairman of the English and Welsh bishops' department of international affairs called on G8 nations to provide "an urgent and effective debt relief toward poor countries".
Bishop Konstant said: "Every such delay condemns the world's poor to further intolerable deprivation."
Campaigners now plan to take the issue to the United Nations Millennium Summit in September, when they will march to Prague in an effort to "intensify" pressure on the International Monetary Fund.