Thirty U.S-based agencies, many of them faith-based, have sent President Bush a letter in which they urge him to use the upcoming G8 summit to mandate deeper and broader debt relief for impoverished nations as a way to advance the fight against AIDS.
Signatories to the letter include a wide array of groups, including AIDS service organizations working in Africa, national religious organizations, and African American groups.
The letter calls for the U.S. to support full cancellation of that portion of the debt owed by impoverished countries to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. "Already, some of the funds released by debt cancellation are being used to fight HIV/AIDS-for example in Uganda, Tanzania, and Cameroon. A program of deeper cancellation would effectively build upon these successes," states the letter, which goes on to suggest an expansion of debt relief to include Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Haiti.
"This letter is yet more proof that even though the year 2000 is past, the debt cancellation movement is going strong and making new allies," commented David Bryden, spokesperson for the Global AIDS Alliance. "We hope this sends a clear message to President Bush that discussing AIDS at Genoa without seriously addressing debt as well will be rejected by a wide range of AIDS advocacy groups."