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International News

EU Pledges One Billion Dollars on AIDS as Africa Joins G8 Summit

June 2, 2003

On Sunday at the opening of the G8 summit of the world's most powerful nations in Evian, France, African leaders won a promise of $1 billion a year from the European Union for the fight against AIDS. South African President Thabo Mbeki said the pledge was made during talks between several African presidents and Group of Eight leaders. It came in response to the recent U.S. commitment of $15 billion over five years to fight the pandemic.

With critics charging that the ambitious promises of last year's G8 summit had not been translated into significant action, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the leaders to increase contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and to draft a long-term strategy on food supplies.

Referring to the U.S. aid announcement, Mbeki said the African leaders "made the same request" to the other G8 members: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. Of those, Britain, France, Germany and Italy are also EU members. "They said the EU would pledge itself immediately to one billion dollars a year to the global health fund," Mbeki said.

Earlier Sunday, French President Jacques Chirac had expressed confidence that the European Union would respond positively to the U.S. initiative, which Chirac hailed as "historic." He said France would triple its contributions to the Global Fund from 50 million euros (US$58.7 million) to 150 million euros (US$176.1 million) annually.

Chirac said President George W. Bush had been "totally right" in urging other nations to match the U.S. pledge, adding that he thought Europe would "accept the challenge." He said a definite decision would be made at the bloc's summit later this month in Greece, mentioning a possible figure of $1 billion.

Back to other CDC news for June 2, 2003

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Adapted from:
Agence France Presse
06.02.03; Kevin McElderry

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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