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AFRO-NETS> Bush pledges US$ 200 million for global efforts against HIV/AIDS

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.

Copyright (c) 2001 NewsEdge Corporation and its distributors
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 05/11/2001 13:48:07

Cecilia Snyder

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