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AIDS as a focus of diplomacy

Secretary Rice unveiled significant changes in int’l HIV policy personnel today:

Separately, today Rice plans to unveil a restructuring of U.S. foreign assistance, including announcing the nomination of Randall L. Tobias as the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Officials said Rice plans to elevate the USAID post, giving Tobias — a former Eli Lilly chief executive who now heads the administration’s global AIDS relief program — an office and a planning staff in the State Department. Rice will designate Tobias as having a rank equivalent of deputy secretary of state.

Although the move stops short of merging USAID with State, it is intended to draw the agency closer into the department’s fold, the officials said. Additionally, the new director will be given broader authority over a range of foreign assistance accounts now managed by separate entities. “Effectively, this will allow a single person to have visibility into these various accounts,” a State official said.

Seems to me that this indicates a further shift of international policy toward HIV efforts. Say what you want about the Bush administration (and there’s plenty to say), but it’s still doing more than any previous administration with regard to HIV. It could stand to do much more, but the tendency does seem to generally be toward more rather than fewer resources.

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