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Thursday, October 2, 2003

Two-day visit to France

Queen Rania is commended for Her humanitarian work and peace initiatives by France

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Paris) French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs commends Queen Rania’s efforts to facilitate work of NGOs in Iraq

French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Renaud Muselier expressed appreciation for Her Majesty Queen Rania’s endeavors in supporting causes of women and children and facilitating the work of NGOs working to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Minister Muselier also congratulated Queen Rania “on her courage in adopting peace initiatives around the world.”

This came during a meeting between Queen Rania and Mr. Muselier in Paris following France’s pledge to extend financial and political support for the Vaccine Fund of whose Board of Directors Queen Rania is an active member.

Queen Rania, accompanying His Majesty King Abdullah II on a two-day visit to Paris, expressed the Vaccine Fund’s appreciation for France’s contribution of 15 million euros over three years to help finance the purchase and distribution of vaccines for children in the 75 poorest countries around the world.

The outcome of the meeting, also attended by Mr. Jacques Francois Martin, President of the Vaccine Fund, resulted in a pledge by France to extend additional support for the eradication of serious diseases around the world such as AIDS and polio.

Minister Muselier also expressed France’s continued commitment to provide immunization for children worldwide.

During the meeting Queen Rania also acknowledged France’s new membership on the board of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and expressed hope that France’s initiatives will urge and inspire other donor governments to contribute to the fulfillment of this very important cause.

While current commitments by governments and private donors to The Vaccine Fund total $250 million annually, the cost of ensuring that 80% of the poorest children are protected is expected to jump to $400 million a year by 2004, creating a gap of $150 million that needs to be raised each year.

Queen Rania joined the Board of Directors of The Vaccine Fund in 2001. The Fund is a non-profit organization harnessing resources that seek to provide children in the poorest countries of the world with access to life-saving vaccines.

The Queen also met with Bernadette Chirac, wife of President Jacques Chirac, over lunch.