Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - May 14, 2001 - Remarks following discussions with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Monday, May 14, 2001


Volume 37, Issue 19; ISSN: 0511-4187


Remarks following discussions with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

George W Bush



� May 11, 2001



� Global Fund To Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis



� President Bush. It is my honor to welcome our friend, the President

of Nigeria, to the Rose Garden. Mr. President, welcome to

Washington, the Rose Garden. And of course, Kofi Annan, the

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Secretary-General,

thank you for coming.



� As well, we are joined by two members of my Cabinet: Secretary of

State Powell, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson.

I want to thank them both for being here. Scott Evertz, who is the

Director of the National AIDS Policy Office is with us. Scott, thank

you for being here. And of course, Condoleezza Rice, the National

Security Adviser.



� I am looking forward to meeting with the President on a range of

issues that are important to our nations. This morning, we've spoken

about another matter that involves countless lives. Together, we've

been discussing a strategy to halt the spread of AIDS and other

infectious diseases across the African continent and across the




� The devastation across the globe left by AIDS, malaria,

tuberculosis, the sheer number of those infected and dying is almost

beyond comprehension. Suffering on the African continent has been

especially great. AIDS alone has left at least 11 million orphans in

sub-Sahara Africa. In several African countries, as many as half of

today's 15year-olds could die of AIDS. In a part of the world where

so many have suffered from war and want and famine, these latest

tribulations are the cruelest of fates.



� We have the power to help. The United States is committed to

working with other nations to reduce suffering and to spare lives,

and working together is the key. Only through sustained and focused

international cooperation can we address problems so grave and

suffering so great.



� My guests today have been doing their part and more, and I thank

them for their leadership. President Obasanjo last month led the

nations of Africa in drafting the Abuja declaration which lays out

crucial guidelines for the international effort we all envision.

Secretary-General Annan, too, has made this issue an urgent

priority. He has been an eloquent voice in rallying the resources

and conviction needed in this cause. When he visited the White House

in March, we talked about the AIDS pandemic. We agreed on the goal

of creating a global fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and

tuberculosis. The G-8 has been discussing the potential fund.



� Our high-level task force chaired by Secretaries Powell and

Thompson has developed a proposal that we have shared with U.N.

officials, developing nations, and our G-8 partners. We will need

ideas from all sources. We must all show leadership and all share




� For our part, I am today committing the United States of America to

support a new worldwide fund with a founding contribution of $200

million. This is in addition to the billions we spend on research

and to the $760 million we're spending this year to help the

international effort to fight AIDS. This $200 million will go

exclusively to a global fund, with more to follow as we learn where

our support can be most effective.



� Based on this morning's meetings I believe a consensus is forming

on the basic elements that must shape the global fund and its use.

First, we agree on the need for partnerships across borders and

among both the public and private sectors. We must call upon the

compassion, energy, and generosity of people everywhere. This means

that not only governments can help but also private corporations,

foundations, faith-based groups, and nongovernmental organizations,

as well.



� Second, we agree on an integrated approach that emphasizes

prevention and training of medical personnel as well as treatment

and care. Prevention is indispensable to any strategy of controlling

a pandemic such as we now face.



� Third, we must concentrate our efforts on programs that work,

proven best practices. Whenever the global fund supports any health

program, we must know that it meets certain essential criteria. We

must know that the money is well spent, victims are well cared for,

and local populations are well served.



� That leads to the fourth criterion, namely that all proposals must

be reviewed for effectiveness by medical and public health experts.

Addressing a plague of this magnitude requires scientific

accountability to ensure results.



� And finally, we understand the importance of innovation in creating

lifesaving medicines that combat diseases. That's why we believe the

fund must respect intellectual property rights, as an incentive for

vital research and development.



� This morning we have made a good beginning. I expect the upcoming

U.N. Special Session and this summer's G-8 summit in Italy to turn

these ideas into reality. This is one of those moments that reminds

us all in public service why we're here. It challenges us to act

wisely and act together and to act quickly. Across the world at this

moment, there are people in true desperation, and we must help.



� It is now my honor to bring to the podium, the President of

Nigeria. Mr. President.



� President Obasanjo. Mr. President, Secretary-General of the U.N. I

am particularly grateful to you, President Bush, for making this

ceremony to coincide with my visit to you here at the White House in

Washington, DC, on your very kind invitation.



� When African leaders gathered in Abuja, 2 weeks ago, to indicate

their unflinching commitment to fight the scourge of HIV/ AIDS and

related diseases, the joint message of the Secretary of State and

the Secretary of Health was brought to us as a message of hope from

the United States of America. Today, Mr. President, you have begun

to concreteize that hope for Africa and particularly for millions of

Africans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.



� We are still far from the $7 billion to $8 billion annually that

experts reckon will be needed to make impression on the ravaging

effects of this dreadful scourge. But with this beginning, and just

the beginning as you have kindly emphasized, for the U.S., all

nations, governments, foundations, private individuals, and private

sector and, indeed, all human kind who are stakeholders in the

health of humanity are challenged and called upon to make

contributions to the global trust fund for HIV/AIDS and related




� Mr. President, I thank you, on behalf of all AIDS sufferers in the

world, but particularly on behalf of all AIDS sufferers in Africa,

for launching the global fight against HIV/ AIDS pandemic.



� President Bush. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much. Mr.




� Secretary-General Annan. President Bush, President Obasanjo. I wish

to thank you, President Bush, for committing yourself today to

placing the United States at the forefront of the global fight

against HIV/AIDS. It is a visionary decision that reflects your

Nation's natural leadership in the United Nations, as well as your

recognition of the threat posed by this global catastrophe.



� To defeat this epidemic that haunts humanity and to give hope to

the millions infected with the virus, we need a response that

matches the challenge. We should now build on the remarkable

progress over the last year in galvanizing global awareness of the

threat of HIV/AIDS.



� I believe we can all agree on five key objectives for our response:

First, to ensure that people everywhere, particularly young people,

know what to do to avoid infection; second, to stop perhaps the most

tragic form of HIV transmission, from mother to child; third, to

provide treatment for all those infected; fourth, to redouble the

search for vaccine as well as cure; and fifth, to care for all those

whose lives have been devastated by AIDS, particularly the orphans,

and there are an estimated 13 million of them worldwide today, and

their numbers are growing.



� As we declare global war on AIDS, we will need a war chest to fight

it. We need to mobilize an additional $7 million to $10 million a

year to fight this disease worldwide. The global AIDS and health

fund that I have called for as part of this total effort would be

open to the nations, as you heard from the two Presidents, from

governments, civil society, private sector, foundations, and

individuals-all hands on deck. And the resources provided must be

over and above what is being spent today on the disease and on

development assistance to poor countries.



� This founding contribution by the U.S. with the promise to do more

will encourage or energize others to act. Africa, of course, is the

continent that is most profoundly affected by the spread of

HIV/AIDS, and the continent most in need of hope for a better




� The peoples and the leaders of the continent are rising to the

challenge, as President Obasanjo showed most recently by hosting the

Abuja AIDS Summit. However, we must not forget that other parts of

the world, from the Caribbean to Asia to eastern Europe, are also

confronting the spread of this virus and need urgent assistance.



� Mr. President, it is my hope that your commitment today will set an

example for other leaders. When we meet at the General Assembly

Special Session on HIV/AIDS on the 25th of June in New York City,

there will be a strong support for the global AIDS and health fund.

As that happens, I believe today will be remembered as the day we

began to turn the tide.



� Thank you very much.



� President Bush. It has been my honor to host this very important

announcement. It's also my honor to recognize two Members of the

United States Congress who are going to work with this

administration to make sure that our commitment becomes reality:

Senator Frist and Senator Leahy. We're so thrilled you're here. We

appreciate your vision, and we appreciate your leadership.



� Thank you all for coming.



� NOTE: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the

White House.




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