uesday July 17 12:01 PM ET

Bush Urges More Help for Poorest Nations

Reuters- Tuesday July 17 12:01 PM ET


By Deborah Charles


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Telling poor nations ``you're not alone,'' President Bush on Tuesday urged the World Bank to

provide more grants rather than loans to the poorest nations and called on developed nations to do more.


On the eve of his departure for a European trip that includes a summit of major industrialized nations in Genoa, Italy, Bush also

said he would seek a new round of global trade negotiations to ``ignite'' global economic growth through an open trading



``Tomorrow, I will travel to Europe to meet with leaders of the world's most industrialized nations, as well as Russia, to discuss

the developing world and its needs and the developed world and our duties,'' said Bush, who leaves on Wednesday for a

week-long trip to London, the Italian city of Genoa, Rome and the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.


``The needs are many and undeniable, and they are a challenge to our conscience and to complacency.''


As part of a global effort to help alleviate poverty, Bush urged the World Bank and development banks to make up to 50

percent of their cash disbursements to the world's poorest countries in grants rather than loans.


``It would be a major step forward,'' said Bush, who called for grants for education, health, nutrition and water supply. ''Debt

relief is really a short-term fix. The proposal today doesn't merely drop the debt, it helps stop the debt.''


Bush said the United States and other nations must work with developing countries to remove obstacles to development and

help fight illiteracy, disease and unsustainable




``This is compassionate conservatism at an international level and it's the responsibility that comes with freedom and

prosperity,'' said Bush, who ran for U.S. president last year as a ``compassionate conservative.''


Saying a free and prosperous world is one that would be more likely to remain at peace, Bush said the United States and its

allies must pursue policies that will help keep peace.


``Prosperity depends on a stable and peaceful world. Global prosperity also depends on the world's economic powers keeping

our economic houses in order,'' he said. ``We all must pursue pro-growth policies that encourage greater productivity, reduce

tax burdens while maintaining fiscal responsibility.




Bush said he hopes to create a new era of economic growth through a more open world trading system.


``One of the most important objectives of my meetings with other G7 leaders in Italy will be to secure their strong endorsement

for a launch of a new round of global trade negotiations later this year,'' he said.


The World Trade Organization's last ministerial meeting in December 1999 ended in failure after participating countries failed to

agree on an agenda for a new round of trade talks.


On the domestic front, Bush said he would push Congress to approve a bill to give him broad new trade negotiating authority

so he can make trade pacts with other nations.


Bush also took a moment to make a dig at the protesters who have become a regular part of global summits.


``What some call globalization is in fact the triumph of human liberty stretching across national borders. And it holds the

promise of delivering billions of the world's citizens from hunger and want,'' Bush said.


``I respect the right to peaceful expression, but make no mistake, those who protest free trade are no friends of the poor,'' he

said. ``Those who protest free trade seek to deny them their best hope for escaping poverty.''


As many as 200,000 protesters were expected to flock to Genoa for demonstrations and street protests.




Quoting former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who in 1950 told the people of South Korea ``you're not alone'' as long

as they played a part in freedom, Bush said although the world had changed a lot in 50 years, America's commitment was still

the same.


``So much has changed, yet America's commitment is still the same,'' he said. ``To all nations promoting a democratic

government and the rule of law, so that trade and aid can succeed, you're not alone.


``To all nations tearing down the walls of suspicion and isolation and building ties of trade and trust, you're not alone. And to all

nations who are willing to stake their future on the global progress of liberty, you will never be alone.''