French president pledges support for Ebola-hit Guinea on visit
French President Francois Hollande pledged his support for Guinea in its fight against Ebola after he arrived in the west African country for a visit on Friday.
"We have a duty to support you," said Hollande, the first Western leader to visit one of the three countries -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- worst affected by the disease which has killed around 5,700 people.
Hollande told his hosts "we are together with you in the struggle".
Guinea has suffered 1,260 deaths from Ebola out of 2,134 cases of infection.
Hollande stopped in Guinea on his way to a summit of French-speaking countries in Dakar.
He promised that during the conference in the Senegalese capital "I will call for an international mobilisation" against the disease.
Guinean President Alpha Conde said Hollande's visit sent an important message.
"For the people of Guinea, the arrival of President Hollande is a very, very important sign.
"If the president of a country as important as France can come to Guinea, that means everyone can come to Guinea."
France has pledged 100 million euros ($125 million) as a contribution to the fight against Ebola, focusing its efforts on Guinea, its former colony.
The money is to be used to help with financing several care centres as well as 200 beds, some of which are reserved for health workers caring for the sick.
France has also pledged to set up two training centres for health workers, one in France and one in Guinea. In addition, French biotechnology companies will set up rapid diagnostic tests in Africa.
Hollande will visit healthcare facilities and participate in a round-table discussion on Ebola.
Guinea is to be the focus of trials by British-funded researchers on a 15-minute Ebola test, the Wellcome Trust and UK government said Friday.
© 2014 AFP