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US Bishops prod Bush on Africa promises

The President of the US Catholic Bishops Conference has warned President George Bush that the "commitment" reflected in his recent trip to Africa "could be lost" if Congress fails to find the money for a variety of initiatives including the fight against AIDS.

"We urge you and your Administration to do everything you can to fulfill the commitments made to combat disease and poverty and to help end bitter and bloody conflicts in the region," said Bishop Wilton Gregory in a letter dated Tuesday.

Bishop Gregory told the President that his journey "gave hope to a continent with much suffering and much promise, and brought the plight of millions of Africans to the attention of the American public".

Aside from HIV/AIDS, funding is required from Congress for various development and humanitarian aid initiatives.

Bishop Gregory also welcomed the President's promise to help end war and conflict throughout Africa, particularly in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Liberia.

"We continue to urge the United States to respond to the people of Liberia and the international community by exercising leadership in the stabilisation, peace-building and reconstruction effort necessary for a population suffering from decades of extreme deprivation."

US Conference of Catholic Bishops

South African church officials hope Bush's trip leads to action (Catholic News Service)
African Catholic church a vibrant force for change (National Catholic Reporter)
U.S. Senators Tour AIDS-Ravaged Africa (AP)
Bush's big African ambitions (BBC 2/7/03)

Archbishop of Monrovia: Designated President Bryant is a man of peace (MISNA)
Caritas Emergency Team Arrives in Monrovia (Zenit)

22 Aug 2003