Bono Denies Plans for a 'Live Aid 2' Concert

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6.1.04 - Reuters

By Gideon Long

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish rock star Bono played down rumors on Tuesday that he and his friends in the music industry are planning a second Live Aid concert to raise money to fight AIDS.

He said a "Live Aid 2," nearly 20 years after the first epoch-defining event to help the starving of Ethiopia, would not raise enough cash to adequately tackle the AIDS crisis.

Instead, he urged the countries of the European Union to fulfil their pledge to commit 0.7 percent of their national incomes to overseas aid.

"At this point there are no plans for a Live Aid 2," Bono told reporters as he entered a meeting of EU development ministers in Dublin. "It's always there in the background but right now, no.

"Right now we're after billions (of dollars) not millions. A Live Aid 2 would help, but it wouldn't fix the problem."

Bono, frontman of rock giants U2 and a long-time campaigner on development issues, said a Live Aid concert would not be needed if governments in the developed world kept their promises on aid.

"We saw those pictures (of the starving in Ethiopia) 20 years ago. I don't want to see those pictures again," he said.

"There are plans being discussed on these tables (at the EU) which, if implemented, mean we wouldn't have to see those pictures again."

Bono, dressed in a purple suit and wearing his trademark wrap-around sunglasses, said the Scandinavians were alone in the EU in fulfilling their pledge to give 0.7 percent of their national income to overseas aid.

"There are some laggards hanging out here, and I'm going to be putting my hand in their wallets," he said as he headed in through the imposing doorway of Dublin Castle to meet the ministers.

"For me it's not really about charity at this point, it's about justice."

Bono said some EU countries had reneged on their promises because, as their economies expanded, they had realized that 0.7 percent of their national income was more, in absolute terms, than they had anticipated.

"This is renegotiating your deal with God downwards," said Bono, a committed Christian.

Bono, 44, was involved with the first Live Aid concert at London's Wembley Stadium in 1985 -- the brainchild of his friend and fellow Irishman Bob Geldof.

Both men have pressed Ireland to give development issues a higher profile during its presidency of the EU, which runs until the end of this month.

Copyright © Reuters 2004. All rights reserved.

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"not charity, justice! good man!"

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on June 1, 2004 3:40 AM.

Bono Tells Grads: Fight Poverty was the previous entry in this blog.

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