Debt Campaign to Bombard World Leaders with E-Mail

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6.23.00 - Reuters

By Ashley Seager

LONDON (Reuters) - International debt relief campaign group Jubilee 2000 will Friday launch a global e-mail campaign aimed at persuading world leaders to make good on their promises to write off poor country debt.

Jubilee 2000 said it had the support of a host of rock stars such as Bono, Thom Yorke of the group Radiohead and the band Travis. They will send thousands of e-mails to their fans who log into their Web sites and urge them to spread the word.

``We hope this will take off exponentially and establish the new world record for a petition in the run-up to the G7 summit in Okinawa on July 21-3,'' Jubilee 2000's Jamie Drummond told Reuters. The current world record is 22 million signatures.

``Despite all their promises, Blair, Clinton and the other world leaders have failed to cancel the debts of the poorest countries. 19,000 children still die each day from debt.''

Jubilee 2000 is an international coalition of non-governmental organizations and church groups.

It has become increasingly frustrated at a lack of progress by the G7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- in meeting a pledge made in the German city of Cologne a year ago to write off $100 billion of debt of the world's 40-odd poorest countries.

Its e-mail action is supported by global debt activists Web site www.dropthedebt.org which will also be launched on Friday.

Anyone receiving the e-mail, called ``Drop the Debt at the Okinawa Summit,'' will have a link to www.dropthedebt.org and will be able to register their support straight from the e-mail. Their message will be automatically bounced to G7 government Web sites.

``The G7 leaders are trying to hide from us on a little island off Japan for their summit. But we are going to make a dramatic impact online,'' said Drummond.

``They are talking about the 'digital divide' at this summit -- that poor countries can't afford to get on the Web. But until the 'debt divide' is dealt with, they can't deal with the digital divide.''

Copyright © 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on June 23, 2000 11:26 PM.

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