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Annan to visit Washington for top-level talks on Afghanistan, HIV/AIDS

Annan to visit Washington for top-level talks on Afghanistan, HIV/AIDS

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will visit Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for talks with President George W. Bush and other senior officials, a spokesman for Mr. Annan announced today.

Top US administration advisors will attend Mr. Annan's morning meeting with the President, according to spokesman Fred Eckhard, who said that the Secretary-General would also meet with Secretary of State Colin Powell in the afternoon.

Mr. Annan is scheduled to discuss reconstruction in Afghanistan during separate meetings with the President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Horst Koehler, the spokesman said. The Secretary-General is also expected to meet with both Senate and House leaders on Capital Hill.

Asked about the motivation for the trip, Mr. Eckhard said, "The Secretary-General had the intention of going back to Washington; I think the Afghanistan agenda has made it more vital that he have these meetings face-to-face now." The spokesman added that the Secretary-General would also raise the issues of financing for development and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

While in Washington, Mr. Annan is scheduled to address a luncheon at the Department of State hosted by the American Academy of Diplomacy, which will award him the Excellence in Diplomacy Award.

In the evening, the Secretary-General will deliver a speech at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will present the Secretary-General with the W. Averill Harriman Democracy Award. Mr. Annan will share that award with Peter and Linda Biehl, founders of the Amy Biehl Foundation in Africa.