Viewing cable 04VATICAN3057

04VATICAN30572004-08-06 15:56:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE: LEVIN; S/GAC for Tobias and Dybul 
E.O. 12958 N/A 
Ref: a) 03 Vatican 3971 03; b) 03 Vatican 5427; c) Vatican 
1.Embassy Vatican's July 27 Digital Video Conference 
(DVC) on HIV/AIDS linked key interlocutors from the Holy 
See and faith-based organizations with U.S. Global AIDS 
Coordinator Randall Tobias.  Following the increased focus 
on the potential contributions of faith-based groups at the 
Bangkok AIDS Conference, the DVC provided an opportunity 
for Ambassador Tobias to review implementation of the 
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and to discuss 
areas for expanded cooperation with the Holy See and faith- 
based groups active in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. 
Tobias also appealed to his interlocutors to help encourage 
generic drug producers to submit drugs for approval under 
the new expedited approval process to ensure the U.S. is 
able to purchase the most cost-effective drugs under the 
President's plan.  Vatican-based media covered the event 
extensively, resulting in positive treatment of USG efforts 
to combat HIV/AIDS.  End Summary. 
Vatican Agencies, Faith-Based Orgs Convene 
2.Embassy Vatican organized a Digital Video Conference 
(DVC) July 27 on HIV/AIDS, linking key HIV/AIDS 
interlocutors from the Holy See and faith-based 
organizations with U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Randall 
Tobias.  Vatican agencies represented included the Council 
for Health Issues, the Holy See's Foreign Ministry, the 
Council for Justice and Peace, Caritas Internationalis, and 
the Vatican's primary think tank for ethics.  The Vatican- 
affiliated Sant'Egidio Community, which has active and 
growing HIV/AIDS treatment programs in Mozambique and other 
African countries was also represented.  On the heels of 
the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, where 
faith-based organizations were hailed as an untapped 
resource in the fight against HIV/AIDS, participants 
exchanged ideas on further collaboration between their 
organizations and the USG. 
Critical Role for Faith Based Communities 
3.Ambassador Tobias updated participants on the 
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global 
Fund.  He emphasized that cooperation with faith-based 
agencies was critical to the fight against the AIDS 
pandemic.  Participants described to Tobias their concerns 
over access to USG funding, especially for small community- 
based projects in the poorest countries.  Council for 
Health Issues President Cardinal Lozano Barragan expressed 
concern over allocation of funding, noting the importance 
of prioritizing funds for those in the most dire straits. 
All participants recognized the importance of HIV/AIDS 
prevention programs, but discussion focused on how best to 
get cost-effective antiretroviral treatment to people in 
the world's poorest countries. 
¶4.  Cardinal Barragan, who has had previous contacts with 
HS and S/GAC staff, announced during the DVC the formation 
of a "Good Samaritan" foundation attached to his Council 
that would be set up to facilitate requests for HIV/AIDS 
funding from Catholic hospitals and health care providers 
worldwide.  Noting that often these institutions or groups 
were too small to wade through the international assistance 
bureaucracies, Barragan said the foundation would act as a 
clearinghouse that could allow smaller groups to take 
advantage of available funding sources.  Directors of the 
Sant'Egidio Community's antiretroviral treatment program in 
sub-Saharan Africa (ref a) shared insights into their work 
and its successes, emphasizing the importance of developing 
new paradigms for health care that reflect the reality of 
poor health infrastructures in many countries. 
Links to Development and Infrastructure 
5.Other participants stressed the need for expanded 
development assistance to address poverty, and the need to 
expand and improve the health care infrastructure in the 
poorest countries.  Caritas Internationalis Secretary 
General Duncan MacLaren said the fight against HIV/AIDS 
could not be separated from the fight against poverty.  He 
noted that poor nutrition and other ills associated with 
poverty combined with AIDS to create more serious 
humanitarian disasters.  S/GAC Tobias commented that the 
U.S. understands these connections and was also addressing 
broader issues of poverty and health infrastructures; at 
the same time he stressed that the U.S. recognized that the 
program had to be sharply focused on HIV/AIDS or it would 
become to broad to have an impact. 
Questions on Generic Drugs 
¶6.  Vatican participants also expressed concern about USG 
policies on FDA approval for drugs used in overseas 
programs.  Ambassador Tobias corrected misunderstandings of 
U.S. policy, emphasizing that the USG wanted to ensure that 
people with HIV/AIDS received safe, effective drugs. 
Observing that it would be wrong for the U.S. to give 
people in poor countries medicine it would not give to 
Americans, he nevertheless made clear that the U.S. was 
ready to review and expedite approval of any generic drug 
that met the standards to ensure availability of the lowest 
cost drugs. 
Positive Media Coverage 
6.Participation of Vatican media in the DVC resulted in 
positive coverage of U.S. efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, 
countering the sometimes negative reporting that had come 
out of Bangkok.  Coverage of the event was wide-ranging, 
including pieces in Vatican-related web bulletins, the 
widely-read "Word From Rome" column in the National 
Catholic Reporter, a Vatican radio interview featuring 
several participants, and reports by the main Italian news 
agency, ANSA.  Journalists and others also had an 
opportunity to discuss the media's role in the fight 
against the AIDS pandemic. 
7.Post greatly appreciates Ambassador Tobias's 
willingness to participate in this DVC, which served to 
deepen our ongoing dialogue and advance consideration 
within the Holy See about how best to make use of its 
extensive Catholic health networks worldwide to combat 
HIV/AIDS.  As Ambassador Nicholson told the media, the 
event allowed Tobias and Vatican representatives to "get 
acquainted" and continue momentum for faith-based 
organizations and the U.S. government in the fight against 
HIV/AIDS.  End comment. 

 2004VATICA03057 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED