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Bill Clinton delivers keynote speech at Aids Conference
Bill Clinton made his voice heard Monday, delivering a keynote speech at the at the 18th International Aids Conference in Vienna. The former US president and veteran campaigner has attended every International Aids Conference since 2002.
In a reflective speech Clinton divulged his dreams for the future, which include climbing Kilimanjaro before the snow melts, running a marathon, as well as living long enough to see the birth of his grandchildren.
Poignantly he added his wish to "live to know that all the grandchildren of the world will have the chance in the not too distant future to live their own dreams and not die before their time."
Offering his own thoughts on Barack Obama’s criticised funding plan against Aids, Clinton defended the president’s decision, pinning the blame on the US congress for the perceived financial cut backs.
At the opening of the conference on Sunday, protesters chanted "Obama lies -- people die," accusing the president of backtracking on a campaign promise to spend some 50 billion dollars on Aids by 2013.
In an ultimatum Clinton stated:
"You have two options here, you can demonstrate and call the president names or we can go get some more votes in Congress to get some more money. There is no way the White House will veto an increase in funding for Aids."
On Monday the UN announced that Anti-HIV drugs reached a further 1.2 million more people last year.
Figures released on Sunday however, showed that rich countries in the grip of the recession in 2009 caused funding to dip.
In a video message at the opening ceremony UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the "significant progress" in the 29-year war on Aids could be reversed if countries reigned in their funding efforts.
Whether Clinton’s message will pack a punch only time will tell. On his position as ex-president and campaigner Clinton remarked "that's the great thing about not being president anymore, I can say whatever I want," before swiftly adding "of course, nobody cares what I say anymore, but I can say it!"