World leaders on Friday adopted a $50 billion African aid plan and pledged $ 3 billion to facilitate peace talks between Israel and Palestine, as part of a longstanding effort to eliminate extreme poverty and quell the rise of terrorism around the world.
"There is no hope in terrorism, nor any future in it worth living. And it is hope that is the alternative to this hatred, so we offer today this contrast with the politics of terror, said British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as the summit closed.
Blair, who rushed home Thursday following a series of terrorist attacks that killed 50 people in London, returned to Gleneagles, Scotland for the last day of the summit. He said the generosity of the worlds richest nations sends a powerful message in the face of terror.
"All of this does not change the world," Blair said, according to the Associated Press. "It is a beginning, not an end. None of it today will match the same ghastly impact of terror. But it has a pride, a hope, a humanity at its heart."
Many of the G-8 leaders, including Bush, consider Middle East peace an integral part in the fight against terror since terrorists often use the conflict between Israel and Palestine to recruit more members. The $3 billion would help build an independent Palestinian State in a land occupied by Israel, and hopefully let the two neighbors live peacefully with each other.
The pledge to give $50 billion to African aid each year double the current $25 billion was also seen as a terrorism-fighting measure, since poverty and hopelessness are often used as incentives to join Al Qaeda and similar groups. Conflict-ridden countries like Sudan served as terrorist breeding grounds in the past.
Countries will be raising their annual aid each year in increments so the $50 billion figure would be met by 2010.
Blair, who was unable to convince the other leaders to spend 0.7 percent of each countrys Gross Domestic Product on Africa by 2015, said the summit marked a step forward in the right direction.
"It is in the nature of politics that we do not achieve absolutely everything we hope to achieve, but nonetheless I believe we have made very substantial progress indeed," Blair told reporters at a closing news conference, according to AP.
Richard Cizik, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, also viewed the $50 million as a move toward the right direction.
Im very pleased to hear that, said Cizik on Friday. Im sure its not what some people think is necessary, but its definitely a significant step forward.
Cizik was part of a delegation of U.S-based Christian leaders, who traveled to London last month to challenge the worlds leaders to take decisive action on behalf of those living in extreme poverty. The religious leaders held their forum just days before dozens of anti-poverty groups launched the massive Make Poverty History rallies and concert around the world.
Jo Leadbeater, head of policy for British-based Oxfam International that took part in the rallies, said the G-8 aid increase was a good sign, but not good enough.
"The G-8's aid increase could save the lives of 5 million children by 2010 but 50 million children's lives will still be lost because the G-8 didn't go as far as they should have done," said Leadbeater, according to the Associated Press.
Nonetheless, Blair said he believed the G-8 leaders took the unusual step of signing the final summit communiqués as a way of demonstrating their determination to meet new goals.
Said Blair: "If we implement this, we will make poverty history.