Global Fund freezes I. Coast funding amid unrest

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The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said Tuesday that it would freeze all funding for its programmes in the Ivory Coast due to political instability in the country.

"Due to the current political instability, the secretariat of the Global Fund has decided to take a certain number of measures including freezing disbursements to main recipients of the fund's programmes until further notice," said spokeswoman Veronique Taveau during a press briefing.

The country has been placed under "what we call the policy of additional guarantees... which signifies reinforced checks on all levels on the implementation of the programmes," she added.

Organisations running programmes financed by the Global Fund, including non-governmental group Care and the national programme against tuberculosis, would be required to seek approval before spending their funding, she added.

The Global Fund's programmes in Ivory Coast amounts currently to 163 million euros (211 million dollars).

The Geneva-based private-public partnership also said that it was concerned about the stocks of 8.6 million mosquito nets which had recently arrived in Ivory Coast but which could not be distributed due to the crisis.

At least 200 people have died in the political crisis sparked by Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to stand down despite a presidential vote which the Independent Electoral Commission, the UN and most of the world said was won by his rival Alassane Ouattara.

On Tuesday, Gbagbo's party rejected an offer from Ouattara to form a unity cabinet to end the crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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