30 January 2003

Secretary-General Congratulates President Bush on Pledge of Stronger United States Leadership in Fight Against AIDS

NEW YORK, 29 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

I congratulate the President of the United States on his pledge to provide stronger United States leadership in combating the devastating impact of the global AIDS epidemic. An additional $10 billion -- making a total of $15 billion over the next five years, with a new emphasis on access to life-saving treatment and care for millions of people -- will make a vital impact, not only in saving lives but also in staving off the very real threat to stability that AIDS represents in the worst affected regions.

I am particularly pleased that $1 billion is initially to go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is a key instrument for the international community in giving strategic direction to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS.

We know, from experiences on every continent, that success is possible: in preventing infection and in treating and caring for those infected. But too often, the lack of resources has prevented projects from growing into the full-scale national strategies required for success. President Bush has confirmed his belief that AIDS can be defeated. I hope the United States Congress will accept the President's challenge and ensure that the needed funding is made available as quickly as possible, in keeping with the urgency of this crisis. And I hope that this example will encourage other governments to follow suit.

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