SecretaryGeneral concludes African Union Summit with AIDS meeting visit

During the breakfast, hosted by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, delegates also touched on other issues critical to Africa. In addition, leaders discussed a work plan for the coming year.”We have had a very good meeting here and very, very useful and constructive discussions, not just on the issue of AIDS and the fight against that pandemic and its impact on this continent, but also about conflict resolution, about economic and social development, about empowerment of women,” Mr. Annan told reporters after the meeting.In the afternoon, he visited an AIDS clinic at Matola, on the outskirts of the capital Maputo, which has done a remarkable job of preventing the transmission of the HIV virus from pregnant women to their babies. Only three of the 151 babies born at the clinic have been diagnosed as HIV-positive. The clinic provides anti-retroviral drugs to some 300 HIV-positive mothers.”This is our fight, and let’s all move ahead and win this fight,” Mr. Annan told the workers at the clinic.AIDS was also the subject of some of the bilateral meetings the Secretary-General held in the margins of the Summit. He met Peter Piot the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), to discuss tighter coordination between the world body and the Global Fund against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.He also met with Supachai Panitchpakdi, the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), with whom he discussed efforts by multinational pharmaceutical firms to make AIDS medication available to developing countries at low cost. He invited Mr. Panitchpakdi to join him at a meeting with pharmaceutical executives that he is planning for later this year.Mr. Annan was scheduled to leave Mozambique to return to New York over the weekend. On Monday he is going to Washington to meet with United States President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other senior advisers for wide-ranging discussions on Africa, the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the battles against terrorism, poverty and AIDS.

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