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Keep pledges on aid, urges minister

Rich countries should follow Britain's lead by keeping their promises on aid to poorer nations, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has said.

Mr Mitchell was speaking to a United Nations summit in New York to assess progress on the Millennium Development Goals on issues like eradicating extreme poverty and achieving universal primary education.

Ten years on from the agreement of the MDGs, several of the ambitious goals look set to be missed by the target date of 2015.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the summit that the process had delivered "real results", but warned: "The clock is ticking, with much more to do."

He called on the 140-plus presidents, prime ministers and monarchs assembled in New York to "exercise political leadership" to ensure the goals are reached.

The UK is one of relatively few developed countries which are on track to deliver on their MDG promises.

Mr Mitchell told the summit it is time for the whole world to redouble its efforts to tackle poverty.

"Britain is leading the way in helping the world's poorest people, with a firm commitment to spending 0.7% of GNI (gross national income) on aid from 2013," he said.

"Now is the time for other countries to step up and keep their promises too. We will push for that - and I will push for all aid to be more transparent and more accountable."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will also address the summit.


From Belfast Telegraph