Former US President Bush in Ethiopia for AIDS Conference

Posted December 4th, 2011 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Former U.S. President George W. Bush has arrived in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to address the opening of a five-day international conference on AIDS in Africa.

Mr. Bush, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, is concluding an African tour that has already taken him to Tanzania and Zambia.

The former U.S. leader is being honored for his role in creating the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. Described as the largest health initiative dedicated to fighting the disease, it has provided $1.4 billion to Ethiopia since its founding in 2003.

PEPFAR has contributed a total of $39 billion to bilateral programs fighting not only HIV/AIDS but also malaria and tuberculosis.

Mr. Bush told the VOA correspondent in Addis Ababa that the American people need to know “that their generosity saves a lot of lives.”

During his tour, Mr. Bush has refused to comment on calls by Amnesty International that he be arrested for human rights violations during his presidency, specifically ordering waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that the rights organization considers torture.