23 Sep 2003

New Zealand says leadership critical in regional fight against HIV/AIDS

6:09 pm on 23 September 2003

New Zealand's foreign minister is calling for leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the region.

Phil Goff was speaking after addressing a high level meeting at the U.N. General Assembly on the issue.

Eleven Pacific island countries recently obtained a six million U.S. dollar grant from the Global Fund on HIV/AIDs to launch a regional initiative to combat it.

But, the country with the highest incidence, Papua New Guinea, missed out because it put in its own bid which was unsuccessful and it wasn't part of the co-ordinated effort.

Mr Goff says Papua New Guinea will not miss out.

"The eleven countries can now utilise those funds in a way they would wish to. Papua New Guinea may have some decisions to make as whether it can be part of that group in addition to the substantial funding that is going into as part of its bilateral aid assistance from Australia."

New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff.