Sarkozy Pledges More For Fight Against Poverty

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday pledged to boost aid to the world's poorest by 20 percent over the next three years and issued a plea for other developed nations to join him in meeting U.N. anti-poverty targets by 2015. With Millennium Development Goals, set by the United Nations 10 years ago, lagging and hard hit by the global recession, Mr. Sarkozy implored world leaders not to fall back into "old bad habits" of ignoring the global poverty as the world economy begins climbing out of the severe economic downturn "We have no right to do less than what we have decided to do," Mr. Sarkozy told the assembled leaders. He also said the world body should join in creating a small international tax on financial transactions that would go toward ending poverty and meeting other millennium goals. Mr. Sarkozy said France currently donates 10 billion euros ($13.1 billion) a year. "The financial crisis is severe in the rich countries — it creates deficits," he said, "but its consequences are far worse for the poor countries." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the summit with a call to the assembled presidents, prime ministers and kings to use their power to meet U.N. goals to help the world's poorest by 2015. Ten years after world leaders set the most ambitious goals ever to tackle global poverty, they are gathered again to spur action to meet the deadline — which the United Nations says will be difficult, if not impossible, in some cases. General Assembly President Joseph Deiss called the session to order, saying: "We must achieve the Millennium Development Goals. We want to achieve them. And we can achieve them." For centuries, the plight of the world's poor had been ignored, but with the turn of the new millennium, leaders pledged to begin tackling poverty, disease, ignorance and inequality. Israeli President Shimon Peres said peace and full stomachs were key to erasing poverty.