US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1007

OAU HIV/AIDS SUMMIT IN ABUJA

Identifier: 01ABUJA1007
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1007 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-05-07 10:25:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: KHIV PREL SOCI OAU NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001007 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: KHIV, PREL, SOCI, OAU, NI 
SUBJECT: OAU HIV/AIDS SUMMIT IN ABUJA 
 
 
1. Thirty-five African heads of state attended the 
Extraordinary OAU Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and 
Other Related Infectious Diseases held in Abuja April 26- 
27.  Featured guest speakers included UN Secretary General 
Koffi Annan and former President Bill Clinton.  Jerry 
Rawlings, former President of Ghana, was also there.  The 
purpose of the Summit was to forge a common African 
understanding of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the form of the 
so-called Abuja Declaration and to approve an OAU Action 
Plan two months in advance of the worldwide AIDS Conference 
at the UN General Assembly. 
 
 
2.  After emotive speeches by individuals representing 
persons living with AIDS, TB victims and African youth, 
Secretary General Annan mounted the podium and called for a 
 
SIPDIS 
"Marshall Plan" to combat HIV/AIDS.  He sketched the broad 
outlines of a proposed five-point program and announced the 
establishment of an international AIDS fund that would, if 
fully funded, make available USDols 7 to 10 billion per 
year to fight AIDS world-wide.  Former President Clinton 
acknowledged the need for such a fund, but warned that it 
could only be effective if every African Head of State 
began immediately to put systems into place to ensure that 
money from the fund would be effectively utilized in 
national HIV/AIDS prevention programs.  Clinton recalled 
how President Obasanjo embraced a woman living with 
HIV/AIDS when the two Presidents attended a symposium in 
Abuja in August 2000.  He said that simple act sent a 
powerful message throughout Nigeria, and challenged other 
leaders to follow Obasanjo's example.   The former 
President also praised the efforts of Angola and Ghana to 
de-stigmatize the disease. 
 
 
3.  The five-member official American delegation was headed 
by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Nancy 
Powell.  Other members included Acting Assistant 
Administrator of USAID Valerie Dickson-Horton, Special 
Adviser to the Secretary of Health and Human Services 
Willis Morris, Director of the US Pulic Health Service 
Office of HIV/AIDS Dr. Eric Goosby, and Timothy W. Smith of 
State/OES.  Acting AFR/AA Dickson-Horton presented a paper 
on Sustainable Resource Mobilization to Fight HIV/AIDS in 
the third of four Heads-of-State panels, this one chaired 
by a relatively restrained Col. Muammar Qadhafi. 
 
 
4.  The "Message of Hope" Ambassador Powell was to deliver 
on behalf of Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of 
Health and Human Services Thompson was bumped from the 
opening ceremony.  This appeared to have been an 
intentional snub by lower-level conference organizers who 
were disappointed at the level of U.S. representation and 
that Secretary Powell did not attend.  Embassy intervention 
with senior Nigerian and OAU officials succeeded in getting 
the "Message" back on the program in the time slot 
originally envisioned -- during the signing of the Abuja 
Declaration.  The "Message" received prominent press 
coverage, as did speeches by Presidents Obasanjo, Moi, 
Kerekou, Eyadema and Bouteflika and former Ghanaian 
President Rawlings. 
 
 
5.  In the Abuja Declaration, participating Heads of State 
committed themselves to take personal responsibility and a 
direct leadership role in the fight against HIV/AIDS in 
their respective countries.  Most dramatically, 
participants pledged to "set a target" allocation of 15 
percent of their annual budgets for "improvement of the 
health sector," while "scaling up" HIV/AIDS education.  The 
Declaration urges increased foreign assistance to Africa, 
as well as outright debt forgiveness for the Continent, 
which participants agreed to devote to "investment in the 
social sector." 
 
 
6.  The Abuja Framework for Action set forth concrete 
objectives for arresting rates of HIV, TB and other related 
infectious diseases.  The Action Plan's objectives call on 
African leaders to: (1) adequately fund primary health 
care, (2) develop national policies to combat these 
diseases and to control their socio-economic side-effects, 
{3) establish "sustainable mechanisms" for funding HIV 
prevention and treatment, and (4) attend to the needs of 
women, children, and other vulnerable segments of the 
population.  The "Framework" envisages a strong role for 
the OAU in monitoring individual states' progress in 
implementing their own country-specific plans, and calls on 
the OAU to develop a continent-wide action plan to be 
presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2001. 
 
 
7.  The only sour note in the Summit came during the "Vote 
of Thanks" in the closing ceremony.  Conference organizers, 
in an incredible lapse of judgment, assigned the task of 
thanking the Nigerian hosts and the OAU sponsors to Col. 
Qadhafi.  After five minutes of murmuring appropriate 
sentiments for the occasion, the Libyan leader launched 
into an anti-US diatribe, in which he accused the CIA of 
developing the AIDS virus to debilitate the developing 
world and create markets for US pharmaceutical "profit 
mongers." 
 
 
8.  When it became apparent that Qadhafi planned to sustain 
his diatribe, the official US delegation walked out, as did 
the official Japanese delegation and former President 
Rawlings among others.  President Obasanjo, who chaired the 
closing session, appeared genuinely miffed at Qadhafi's 
conduct.  When the Libyan President finished, Obasanjo 
said, "Well, our friend and brother has made a statement; 
he has made a l-o-n-g statement; and somewhere in that 
statement there was also a vote of thanks."  We later heard 
from numerous sources that President Obasanjo, OAU 
Secretary General Salim A. Salim and many of the African 
 
SIPDIS 
delegations were livid about Qadhafi's antics, which they 
felt was a blight on an otherwise milestone Summit. 
JETER 

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