Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, November 11, 1999 Published at 05:58 GMT

UK Politics

Aids focus for summit

Experts fear that the spread of Aids in Africa has been underestimated

Prime Minister Tony Blair is flying to the Commonwealth Conference in South Africa determined to put concern over the Aids virus at the top of its agenda.

Mr Blair will present a British government paper on the issue to other heads of Government when they gather in Durban on Friday.

Aids Special Report
The meeting will be opened by the Queen, only the second time she has performed the task, and will immediately go into discussions on the issue, along with the controversial question of Pakistan's suspension.

[ image: Tony Blair: Aids must top the agenda]
Tony Blair: Aids must top the agenda
Mr Blair's official spokesman said last night he did not envisage the heads of Government going beyond the present position - whereby Pakistan is suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth but not from the organisation itself.

Pakistan will not be represented at the four-day summit, following the military coup there which led to its suspension, pending a proper timetable for the restoration of democracy being presented.

Biggest challenge

The British paper on Aids will point out that in nine African countries with the highest incidence of Aids, life expectancy has fallen from being in the 60s age group to the 40s.

The Prime Minister will emphasise that this is one of the biggest challenges facing the Commonwealth, said his spokesman.

Mr Blair and his wife Cherie are due to arrive in South Africa early on Friday.

He said yesterday that he might have preferred to stay at home with his family and watch Saturday's Scotland-England Euro 2000 qualifying soccer match, but the Prime Minister's spokesman insisted: "He is looking forward to the meeting."

However Mr and Mrs Blair will leave early on Sunday night, leaving Foreign Secretary Robin Cook to join the closing ceremonies on Monday.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Politics Contents

A-Z of Parliament
Talking Politics
Vote 2001

Relevant Stories

10 Nov 99 | Africa
Queen's regret over Boer War

09 Nov 99 | Africa
Summit marks Commonweath's South Africa triumph

01 Oct 99 | South Asia
India Aids alert

23 Sep 99 | Aids
Drug-resistant HIV strains increasing

14 Sep 99 | Aids
Aids statistics 'likely to be conservative'

Internet Links

National Aids Trust


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Livingstone hits back

Catholic monarchy ban 'to continue'

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Straw on trial over jury reform

Blairs' surprise over baby

Conceived by a spin doctor?

Baby cynics question timing

Blair in new attack on Livingstone

Week in Westminster

Chris Smith answers your questions

Reid quits PR job

Children take over the Assembly

Two sword lengths

Industry misses new trains target