Talks To Establish Fund for HIV-Positive Libyan Children Postponed; Bulgaria To Offer No Monetary Donations to E.U. ‘Action Plan’
Talks to establish a fund to support the HIV-positive Libyan children who allegedly were infected with the virus by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician have been postponed by about a week because U.S. representatives did not come to the meeting scheduled for Sunday, Libyan officials said on Sunday, Reuters South Africa reports (Reuters South Africa, 1/15). The six health workers were sentenced to death by firing squad in May 2004 for allegedly infecting the children through contaminated blood products. Libyan Supreme Court President Ali al-Alus on Dec. 25, 2005, overturned the convictions two days after Bulgaria, Libya, the U.S. and the European Union agreed to establish a fund to support the HIV-positive Libyan children. The agreement did not mention the accused health workers, and Bulgarian officials said that the fund is part of an international effort to find an end to the situation. The size of the fund was expected to be disclosed on Dec. 28, 2005, during talks between Bulgaria and Libya, but on Dec. 28, 2005, officials announced that the negotiations had been postponed until mid-January (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/3). Idriss Lagha, chair of the Association of the Families of the HIV-Infected Children, said, "The talks between Bulgarian and Libyan officials were scheduled to take place [on Sunday] in the Libyan capital but they were postponed to January 21 because the U.S. representatives did not attend the meeting." According to Reuters South Africa, neither Lagha nor other Libyan officials explained why the representatives did not participate in the talks (Reuters South Africa, 1/15). Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin on Thursday said that Bulgaria would not give compensation to the families of the HIV-positive children "because the Bulgarian nurses are not guilty." He added that the country is "ready to participate in the action plan of the European Union" and will help train medical workers and supply aid to Libya, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 1/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.