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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07MOSCOW2093 2007-05-07 14:58:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
Cable title:  

RUSSIA: NO ANSWER YET ON SMALLPOX RESEARCH

Tags:   TBIO PARM TSPL CTR CBW RS 
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VZCZCXYZ0016
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #2093 1271458
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071458Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9978
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 002093 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR ISN/CTR (GOODMAN, CAMERON, BODNAR, AND RAO)
AND EUR/PRA (FRIEDT, NASH)
NSC FOR CLEDDY, MHAYWARD
HHS/OGHA FOR WSTEIGER, MABDOO, MLVALDEZ, LSAWYER AND
IESSIET-GIBSON
DOD/CTR FOR AWEBER AND JREID

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2017
TAGS: TBIO PARM TSPL CTR CBW RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA: NO ANSWER YET ON SMALLPOX RESEARCH

REF: A. STATE 57613


B. MOSCOW 600

C. 06 MOSCOW 12727

D. 06 STATE 192069

Classified By: EST Counselor Daniel J. O'Grady. Reason 1.4(b,d).



1. (C) On May 7 we met with Oleg Chestnov, Deputy Director of
the Health and Social Development Ministry's International
Department, and delivered Ref A letter from HHS Special
Assistant Steiger to Deputy Health and Social Development
Minister Starodubov. NOTE: Chestnov was a last-minute
substitution for Starodubov, with whom we made the
appointment. END NOTE. We also delivered the related
points, as a non-paper, on restarting the joint U.S.-Russian
smallpox research at the Vector State Research Center of
Virology and Biotechnology near Novosibirsk. We reiterated
our earlier messages (Ref B) about the importance of this
joint research and the need for Russia and the United States
to present a united front at the World Health Assembly (WHA)
May 14-18 against those countries who continue to argue for
the destruction of the disclosed stocks of smallpox at CDC
Atlanta and Vector. We noted that we had heeded Russia's
earlier concerns about a visiting U.S. researcher at Vector,
and had redrafted these research projects so that U.S.
collaborators would only visit Vector once every quarter, at
a minimum, for consultations.



2. (C) Chestnov said that he recognized that the new
proposals represented a "fair compromise" in light of the
earlier Russian concerns. He stated that HHS Secretary
Leavitt and Health and Social Development Minister Zurabov
would likely be able to speak by phone in advance of the
World Health Assembly on either May 10 or 11, and hoped that
Zurabov could give Secretary Leavitt an answer at that time
on restarting research. He noted that Chief Medical Officer
Onishchenko's Federal Surveillance Service for Consumer
Rights and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor), which has
jurisdiction over Vector, still needed to provide some
background information to the Ministry in advance of the
call. Otherwise, there were no obstacles to the call
proceeding. Chestnov also indicated that Deputy Minister
Starodubov would be available to meet with HHS Special
Assistant Steiger in Geneva on either the afternoon of May 14
or the morning of May 15, to discuss a common smallpox
message and strategy within the WHA.



3. (C) Expanding beyond smallpox, Chestnov said that Russia
would like to discuss establishing a strategic partnership on
global health issues with the United States, noting that the
Ministry was engaged in similar discussions with the EU. As
Russia continues to position itself as an emerging
international health donor, he stated that this partnership
could expand our cooperation beyond the Bratislava AIDS
Initiative agreed to by Presidents Bush and Putin in 2005,
and other joint endeavors like smallpox. He suggested both
sides should first discuss informally what would be the most
promising avenues of collaboration. We welcomed Chestnov's
suggestion and proposed holding initial informal discussions
after the conclusion of the WHA.
BURNS