WASHINGTON — President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce a joint initiative Tuesday costing the United States $674 million to help an estimated 14 million people threatened by famine in Africa, the White House said.

The announcement appeared intended to take the sting out of Bush's opposition to Blair's more expensive plan for doubling aid to Africa. The amount of Britain's contribution to the joint initiative was not disclosed, but it was said to be less than Washington's.

Bush and Blair are to meet at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, their first encounter since Blair won a third term in office and his Labour Party suffered heavy losses in Parliament because of voters' unhappiness about his support for the Iraq war.

The joint initiative will focus on the food needs of people vulnerable to famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It also will address humanitarian needs in other countries in Africa, a senior White House official said. The money will be drawn from funds already approved for an Agriculture Department food aid account and other funds available in a recent supplement appropriation.

Bush has rejected Blair's efforts to persuade the world's wealthiest nations to back his plan to double aid to Africa. The prime minister, the host of this year's summit of the major eight industrialized democracies, hopes to use the meeting in early July in Gleneagles, Scotland, to raise an extra $50 billion a year by selling bonds on the world's capital markets.

"It doesn't fit our budgetary process," Bush said last week. The Bush administration says the mechanism would conflict with U.S. budget laws by binding future governments to providing money.

Bush and Blair are to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon where they are expected to announce their joint initiative. They will call on other countries to increase their commitment to address humanitarian emergencies in Africa, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been formally made.

In addition to the $674 million, the United States has earmarked $1.4 billion requested by the United Nations to address emergency needs.

Blair's U.S. visit is part of a blitz of trips to lobby foreign leaders ahead of the Scotland summit. In coming weeks, Blair is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

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Blair's wish list is likely to be a tough sell in the United States. Bush opposes the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and his administration questions views that man-made pollutants are causing temperatures to rise. The White House has also rejected many of Blair's proposals on African debt relief.

On Monday, Blair's official spokesman said Blair wasn't looking for any breakthroughs in Washington.

"This visit is part of the preparation for Gleneagles, not Gleneagles itself," the spokesman said. "So we are not expecting . . . to see the final U.S. position tomorrow. That will come at Gleneagles."

Britain and the United States agree that Africa is a priority, the spokesman said.

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