Clinton Discusses HIV, Syria With South Africans
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, visiting officials in the country with the world’s highest rate of HIV infection, said Tuesday that global efforts to stop the virus "have saved hundreds of thousands of lives."
In South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, Clinton met with Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in the second cabinet-level strategic dialogue between the two nations. South Africa is a member of the U.N. Security Council, and the U.S. also wants its support in dealing with the worsening crisis in Syria.
In South Africa, 5.7 million people - 17.8 percent of the population - have tested positive for HIV. PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has spent $3.2 billion on anti-retroviral drugs and HIV prevention programs in South Africa since 2004. The program was initiated by President George W. Bush and has been continued by President Barack Obama’s administration.
On Wednesday in Cape Town, Clinton will preside at a ceremony at which the U.S. will begin shifting administrative control of the AIDS initiative and treatment implementation to the South Africans. The handover will take five years.
Clinton played down U.S. concerns over South Africa’s reluctance to support western-backed initiatives at the United Nations, where South Africa is wrapping up a two-year elected term on the Security Council. South Africa abstained on the last Security Council resolution on Syria, which would have called for sanctions for non-compliance with Kofi Annan’s peace plan. The resolution failed on a double veto by Russia and China.