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Following anti-AIDS address in Abuja, Annan heads to US for second appeal

Following anti-AIDS address in Abuja, Annan heads to US for second appeal

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who today called for a worldwide mobilization to fight AIDS at an African summit meeting in Nigeria, will head to Philadelphia, United States, early next week to reiterate his appeal for a comprehensive, well-funded campaign against the epidemic, his spokesman announced today.

"As the second part of a one-two punch, following his speech in Abuja this morning, the Secretary-General will travel to Philadelphia on Monday to address the Council of Foundations," spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at United Nations Headquarters in New York. "He will ask Council members to join a coalition of Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to launch a worldwide response to the HIV/AIDS crisis at the special session of the General Assembly in June."

The Council of Foundations includes among its members some 2,000 US-based foundations, as well as corporate giving programmes, which in 1999 disbursed a collective total of $16 billion in grants, according to Mr. Eckhard.

While in Abuja this morning, the Secretary-General held a number of bilateral meetings in the margins of the African Summit on HIV/AIDS. He reviewed the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this morning with President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, who pledged support for the Secretary-General's efforts in the country.

In the afternoon, Mr. Annan discussed West African issues with Gnassingbe Eyadema, the President of Togo and Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The Secretary-General thanked the President for facilitating dialogue in Côte d'Ivoire.

Upon his return to New York, the Secretary-General will hold two high-level meetings on the Middle East. On Saturday, Mr. Annan is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon, and on Monday with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.