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The BBC's Jon Leyne
"Aids awareness efforts are years out of date"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 January, 2001, 20:54 GMT
Holbrooke bows out with Aids warning
US United Nations Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
Holbrooke: Troops need better education and protection
The American Ambassador to the United Nation, Richard Holbrooke, has used his final speech to the Security Council to criticise the organisation's response to the problem of Aids.

In particular, Mr Holbrooke drew attention to the lack of UN effort to raise Aids awareness among UN peacekeeping forces.


Awareness has to be a core function of UN otherwise peacekeepers will end up causing more deaths than lives they save

Richard Holbrooke
Mr Holbrooke leaves his post on Saturday when the new American administration takes office, but he has used his short and colourful term as UN ambassador to highlight the problem of the disease.

In his speech, Mr Holbrooke said advice booklets issued to peacekeepers were years out of date, and peacekeeping commanders still did not know about their responsibility to help prevent Aids.

He also warned that the medical section of the peacekeeping department was under-staffed and suggested that the cost of Aids tests for all peacekeepers should be included in the budget of future missions.

More harm than good

After his speech, Mr Holbrooke told reporters: "It has to be a core function of the (peacekeeping) office, otherwise UN peacekeepers will end up causing more deaths than lives they save."

"I have never questioned the sincerity of the people involved, but bureaucracies are slow and sluggish, resources are limited, and there has to be a reallocation," he added.

With the help of outgoing Vice-President Al Gore, Mr Holbrooke persuaded the Security Council to discuss the issue for the first time a year ago.

In his speech he joked how the word "condom" was now thrown around freely in the Council, where a year ago it had never been mentioned.

Mr Holbrooke also paid a wider tribute to the work of the UN, and received a rare round of applause from the other ambassadors and diplomats gathered around the Security Council table.

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See also:

07 Jul 00 | Americas
'Test UN troops for HIV'
01 May 00 | Americas
US: Aids is security threat
11 Jan 00 | Africa
UN Aids plan welcomed
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