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Fresh from the Grammy Awards, Bono dropped into Washington on Friday to Meet with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Speaking to Reuters News Agency after having lunch with Ms Rice, Bono said he believed that she "sees the linkage" between fighting poverty and the war on terrorism.

"She spoke very passionately herself about the subjects and knows an extraordinary amount about them for somebody so busy with the war against terrorism, and oddly enough, she sees the linkage," he said.

The anti-terror war has raised the profile of the campaign to alleviate global poverty rather than distracted from it, he said.

"It's got centre stage," he said. "In Africa, there are 10 potential Afghanistans, so it (the issue) is now strategic. It's not philanthropy, it's strategic."

Bono has been working for several years with aid agencies and campaign groups in a bid to cancel the unpayable debts of the worlds poorest countries.

Later on Friday Bono met African-American leaders, religious groups and debt-relief campaigners to rally support for his cause. He said that with White House encouragement, he was seeking to enlist the "faith-based" community in the debt relief campaign.

"Our movement is an unusual combination of church and street," he said.

Speaking to a group of advocates for Africa at the headquarters of the charity, Africare, in Washington, DC., he said, "It's your melody, I'm gonna try and sing it."

He described the Aids pandemic in Africa and the grinding poverty affecting so many nations in Africa, "an emergency". Africa has been ignored and "time is running out," he told the group.

He believes his celebrity status can help open doors and cites interest from conservative Republicans in the U.S. Congress as well as interest from corporate America.

"Give us a package for Africa to be announced at the G8 and we'll be in the photo," he said, explaining that one thing his involvement helps with "is your crap PR."

More on this story at
allafrica.com

More on the campaign to cancel the debts of the poorest countries at
www.jubileeusa.org
and at
www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk

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