U2's Bono asks Russia's Medvedev to help beat AIDS

Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:02pm EDT
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By Denis Dyomkin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters Life!) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev welcomed U2 frontman Bono to tea on Tuesday ahead of the group's first ever Russian concert, and the Irish musician asked for Russia's help in fighting AIDS.

"Taking care of people is not just what politicians do," self-proclaimed rock music lover Medvedev told Bono, adding that U2's music has united generations of people.

Their meeting on the sun-drenched veranda of Medvedev's summer residence on the Black Sea comes a day before U2 take to the Moscow stage for their first ever performance in Russia.

Earlier this month in Italy, U2 resumed their 360 Degree Tour following a two-month absence while Bono recovered from a back injury.

Bono, sporting his trademark sunglasses and single earring, asked Medvedev to find a Russian firm to team up for his "Red" campaign, which raises money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Brands Nike, Microsoft, Apple and Starbucks have sold red products and donated part of the proceeds to the charity.

"Maybe you can find a Russian company, a Red Russian company, it's your color," Bono told Medvedev, an apparent reference to the red flags and stars used by the Soviet Union.

Medvedev said he would think how Russia, which experts say has at least one million people infected with HIV, could contribute to the Red brand.   Continued...

<p>Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (L) meets with Bono, lead singer of Irish band U2, at the presidential residence Bocharov Ruchei in Sochi August 24, 2010. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Mikhail Klimentyev</p>