Bono meets Pentagon chief to discuss poverty

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - U2 lead singer and activist Bono visited the Pentagon to discuss Africa and the fight against global poverty with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, representatives of the two men said on Wednesday.

Among the topics at the 20-minute meeting on Tuesday afternoon were U.S. plans to set up a new U.S. military command for Africa, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

"I think this was a chance for two people who care about the problems facing the continent of Africa to talk about their shared interest in solving those problems," Morrell said of the meeting that was not publicized in advance.

A spokeswoman for DATA, the group co-founded by Bono to fight poverty and AIDS in Africa, said the singer had been in Washington to meet members of budget committees in Congress.

"He also met with Secretary Gates to discuss global poverty and the connection between fighting poverty and peace and stability," Kathy McKiernan said.

Bono has met frequently with world leaders to push for spending on foreign aid and debt relief. But this was his first meeting with Gates, a former director of the CIA who replaced Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon in December 2006. (Reporting by Andrew Gray; editing by David Wiessler)