Bush pledges US$ 200 million for global efforts against HIV/AIDS
WASHINGTON, May 11 (Kyodo) - President George W. Bush said Friday the
United States will contribute US$ 200 million to a global fund pro-
posed by the United Nations to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the
world. Speaking at a White House ceremony to announce the donation,
Bush said the devastation left by HIV/AIDS is "almost beyond compre-
hension." "We have the power to help," said Bush, flanked by U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan and Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo. Bush said the U.S. contribution should be seen as "seed
money" to get the fund started and called on other countries to fol-
low the U.S. example. "Working together is the key. Only through sus-
tained and focused international cooperation can we address problems
so grave and suffering so great," he said. Bush said he expects the
summit of major industrial nations in Genoa, Italy in July to take up
the global AIDS issue. The U.S. is the first country to commit to the
fund, proposed by Annan last month after an African summit on AIDS.
Annan praised Bush for his leadership in "placing the U.S. at the
forefront of the global fight against HIV/AIDS" but added more money
is needed. "As we declare global war on AIDS, we will need a war
chest to fight it," the U.N. chief said, noting that the interna-
tional community needs an additional US$ 7 billion to US$ 10 billion
a year to fight the disease. Bush indicated Washington is ready to
put up more money for the fund if necessary. "This US$ 200 million
will go exclusively to a global fund, with more to follow as we learn
where our support can be most effective," he said. Nigeria, Africa's
most populous country, hosted the AIDS summit last month. Africa is
hardest hit by AIDS with the disease, leaving at least 11 million or-
phans in sub-Sahara Africa.
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 05/11/2001 13:48:07
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