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Bono says feels "exploited" by Berlusconi mag

Written by: Staff
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ROME, Apr 3 (Reuters) Irish rocker and charity champion Bono has written to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to complain about how his picture was used in a magazine listing the government's achievements ahead of elections next week.

''Mr Berlusconi, as flattered as I can be of appearing in your brochure, I also feel a bit exploited,'' Bono said in the letter, a copy of which was printed on the front page of the Corriere della Sera daily yesterday.

The glossy, 161-page magazine was published by Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party and has been sent to millions of Italian households ahead of the April 9-10 ballot.

It is full of photos of an ever-smiling prime minister addressing crowds and conversing with world leaders.

At one point it features a picture of Bono, who has spearheaded a campaign to persuade the leaders of the Group of Eight richest nations to double aid to Africa.

The caption reads: ''The Irish star is grateful to the prime minister for the actions promoted by the Italian government towards poor countries''.

In his letter, Bono said he recalled a conversation with Berlusconi during which the prime minister pledged to fulfil the promises made by the G8 in Gleneagles, Scotland, last year in a statement signed by Berlusconi along with the other leaders.

He said Italy would have to more than double its handouts by 2010 to honour its commitment.

''If your commitment is real and your signature is trustworthy, then the world wants to know how Italy intends to reach this target,'' Bono said in the letter, translated into Italian by Corriere.

Italy gives the smallest amount of aid contributions in real terms within the G8, and despite pledges to boost the handouts, they have actually dropped over the past few years.

REUTERS AD RN0527

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