African leaders resolve to tackle AIDS, polio, food security

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- African leaders wrapped up their two-day mid-term summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja Monday, with a renewed determination to tackle HIV/AIDS, polio and food security among other concerns on the continent.
To stem the spread and effects of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Polio on the continent, the leaders approved the development of a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing plan for Africa.
The plan, according to the summit communiqué, will facilitate the production of quality generic drugs in the continent in collaboration with the support of the international community.
The meeting also urged members States to pursue a more effective and well-coordinated implementation of national programmes to promote health systems development, improve access to prevention, treatment and care.
They should support the global child survival partnership and the "3 by 5" initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to supply three million people living with HIV/AIDS with antiretroviral drugs by 2005.
African countries were further enjoined to ensure that every child is immunised against polio this year.
On food security, the summit expressed "grave concern" over the serious economic and social impacts of the desert locusts that plagued northern, western and eastern regions of the continent.
It mandated the AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Omar Konare, to prepare and submit a report on the status of food security in Africa for the consideration of AU meetings in July every year.
The communiqué also endorsed the establishment of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), and urged it to collaborate with the AU and its organs.
The Committee is to be based in the office of AU Commission Chairperson, "who shall be the recipient of reports from the CISSA secretariat or other CISSA structures," the communiqué added.
In his closing remarks, AU chairman and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said the Abuja summit reviewed various conflicts on the continent "in a relaxed, cordial and friendly atmosphere.
" He said the issue of UN reform was "frankly and exhaustively discussed in a friendly and brotherly atmosphere.
" "It was perhaps thought that the issue will prove to be divisive and rancorous," Obasanjo observed: adding: "The decision that we took was a reaffirmation of our collective will to find solution to a problem through mutual understanding and consensus.
" The summit endorsed the decision of the AU Executive Council to set up a 15-member ministerial Committee to make recommendations on the adoption of a common African position on the UN reform.
The Committee is to meet February, is to be followed by an extraordinary session of the AU Executive Council before March 2005.
Meanwhile, none of the three countries - Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa - which had publicly indicated interest in filling the African slot on an expanded UN Security Council made a public show of its intention at the Abuja summit, attended by most of the leaders of the 53-nation AU Member States.
Among leaders in attendance were Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who was shut out of the Commonwealth meeting in Abuja in 2003, and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who was attending his first AU/OAU meeting since 1995 when he survived an assassination attempt in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

31 january 2005 19:26:00

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