Foreign Ministry Announces the Establishment of a Task Force to Combat AIDS and Malaria in Africa

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
January 17, 2001

The Director General of the Foreign Ministry, Dr. Alon Liel, yesterday (January 16) announced the establishment of a task force, operating under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry, to combat AIDS and malaria in Africa. The Director General made the announcement during a meeting with ambassadors of African countries in Israel, including the South African and Mauritanian Ambassadors and the Egyptian Charge D’Affaires. The Director General provided the 20 Ambassadors with a comprehensive review of recent developments in the peace process.

In his meeting with the ambassadors, Dr. Liel expressed Israel’s concern regarding the worrying statistics relating to the spread of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The Director General noted that the spread of the disease constituted a "global nightmare", and that assistance to African countries should be made a top priority, in order to combat the horrifying phenomenon.

The task force will be headed by the Deputy Director General for Africa, Avraham Toledo, and the Deputy Director General for International Cooperation (MASHAV), Arik Arzi. The two officials met with experts from the Weizmann Institute, in order to examine ways in which Israel could assist African countries. Israel is interested in providing assistance in the medical and the educational spheres. The medical assistance includes sending doctors and dispatching mobile laboratories. The educational support includes the promotion of educational programmes on AIDS prevention. The African ambassadors expressed great interest in the research carried out by the Weizmann Institute concerning vaccinations for Malaria.

The Director General emphasized that Israel is ready to allocate time, energy and resources to the matter, and to stand together with the rest of the enlightened world at the forefront of the fight against these terrible epidemics.