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Division Among Delegates To Dilute UN's AIDS Plans: Activists

As diplomats lock horns over the declaration to be issued after today's UN meet on AIDS, activists and victims fear the outcome will fail to effectively contain the epidemic that has claimed 25 million lives so far.//

Hours before the declaration is to be issued, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked diplomats not to negotiate away gains made in an earlier declaration in 2001.

The UNGA's session hoped to arrive at a plan that ensures provision of universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment to all affected by 2010.

But as the General Assembly opened its session, sharp differences erupted at the political level with diplomats virtually deadlocked on the declaration.

The debate was over well know issues including mention of condoms and of vulnerable groups such as sex workers and gay men, empowerment of women and the need to expand definition of universal access to include prevention, treatment and support to the victims.

Another major point of debate was over the procurement of funds -- whether the plan should clearly define the ways to get funds or leave it vague.

Differences erupted among African nations, after some among them allegedly made suggestions in defiance of an understanding they had arrived at earlier.

With negotiations deadlocked, UNGA President Jan Eliasson took the matters in his hand and developed a text on the basis of parallel negotiations he had with several member states and regional groups.

Such negotiations could hamper the plan that woud have been in place, had there been no `diplomatic' hurdles, activists and victims fear. 'Don't kill us with diplomacy,' an AIDS sufferer said emotionally.

Source:PTI News
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