U2 frontman Bono has urged America to dig deep and help African AIDS relief - and thus improve America's image internationally.

The Irish singer and humanitarian spoke last night (9OCT03) at a New York charity dinner at the SHERATON HOTEL.

The UNA-USA GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS event was organised so Bono could present the Global Humanitarian Award to Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the UNITED NATIONS.

He said, "AIDS is still is a problem in the US and Europe, but what's going on in Africa is a different thing completely. It's an emergency.

"Seven thousand Africans are dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease. And we have the drugs.

"Right now, there's a problem in the world with the way people perceive us in the West. With these drugs, we can change the way they see us, we can change lives, transform communities.

"I say to the President and to corporate America, 'See these drugs as advertisements for you. Paint them red, white and blue if that's what you want. But get them to the people who need them, and the way the United States is perceived would change.' "

Bono also admitted success would not be easy.

He added, "We're looking for $3 billion this year for an entire continent. There's people in the administration that actually want to give us what we want. Politicians like to sign checks, but they don't like to cash 'em. I'm in the business of cashing checks."

10/10/2003 16:32