Just as the United Nations appeared to have completed a declaration to address a global tuberculosis epidemic, South Africa has raised objections about access to medicines, an unexpected move that has re-opened talks in hopes of refashioning a final document over the next few days. However, the odds of reaching an agreement appear unlikely, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

In a letter to U.N. officials, the South African government objected to language that was removed from earlier drafts of the declaration, which was finalized on July 20. The language referred to a World Trade Organization agreement that allows countries to issue compulsory licenses as a way to create lower-cost alternatives to medicines.

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