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The Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim has confirmed Brazil's intention to help Mozambique fight HIV/AIDS by building a pharmaceutical plant in the country.

According to the Mozambique News Agency, Amorim said the first step would be to conduct a feasibility study.

Speaking during a two-day visit to Mozambique, the minister added that until the factory is installed, Brazil would continue to help Mozambique to ensure the quality of anti-retroviral drugs, whether produced in Brazil or elsewhere.

Brazil's offered to build the plant in 2003 but was last year rumoured to have scrapped the idea.

In August 2004, however, when Brazil cancelled 95 per cent of Mozambique's US$331 million debt, the two countries' presidents issued a statement confirming that the project would go ahead.

The statement added that as well as building and installing the laboratories, Brazil would train Mozambican staff to operate it.