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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08ASHGABAT856
2008-07-09 12:02:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

TURKMENISTAN: BTRP-CTR-GPP DISCUSS

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  MASS  TX 
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VZCZCXRO2786
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RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0856/01 1911202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091202Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1115
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 3991
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1808
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1675
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2244
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2672
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000856 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, ISN (BIGBEE)
DOD FOR OSD-P (WEBER)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MASS TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: BTRP-CTR-GPP DISCUSS
BIOSECURITY/BIOSAFETY



1. Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public internet.



2. (SBU) SUMMARY: On 16-17 June, Turkmenistan,s Ministry
of Defense (MOD) and Ministry of Health and Medical
Industry (MOHMI) received introductory presentations from a
U.S./Canadian delegation on the Department of Defense,s
Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP), the Department
of State,s Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) under
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), and the Canadian Global
Partnership Program (GPP). MOD and MOHMI responded
positively to the delegation,s invitation to visit a
biological lab in the region as well as attend the American
Biological Safety Association (ABSA) Conference in
October. END SUMMARY.

MILITARY DOCTORS INTERESTED IN PRACTICES OUTSIDE
TURKMENISTAN



3. (SBU) The U.S./Canadian delegation consisting of Office
of Secretary of Defense-Policy (OSD-P) Andrew Weber,
Department of State International Security and
Nonproliferation Bureau (DOS-ISN) Allison Bigbee, and
Canadian Global Partnership (GPP) Maureen Ellis presented
briefings on the BTRP, BEP, and GPP programs to explain the
purpose of these efforts and to gauge Turkmenistan's level
of readiness to expand cooperation on biosecurity and
biosafety. MOD Medical Directorate Chief Colonel Oraz
Dovlatov showed interest in the presentations and
reciprocated with an overview of Turkmenistan,s military
medical capability. Dovlatov said the military was able to
screen its recruits and treat its soldiers. The most
common infections observed were seasonal, acute respiratory
illnesses in winter and stomach flu and other
gastrointestinal illnesses in summer.



4. (SBU) Dovlatov expressed interest in learning about
military medical practices outside of Turkmenistan and
positively responded to an offer to visit other biological
labs, adding that MOD was particularly interested in seeing
other labs in the region as they would likely deal with
similar strains and infections. MOD appeared willing to
cooperate more fully in the medical field and accepted the
offer to attend the ABSA Conference in October in Reno,
Nevada, as well as visit U.S. laboratories, but requested a
formal invitation.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH SEEKS INCINERATORS



5. (SBU) MOHMI First Deputy Minister of Health and Chief
Doctor for Epidemiology and Sanitation Annamurat Orazov
showed interest in the delegation,s presentations and
responded with a surprisingly open discussion on
Turkmenistan's plans to build up the medical capacity in
the country, including new hospitals and labs. He noted
that Turkmenistan sends human samples that are suspected to
harbor infectious pathogens to the World Health
Organization (WHO) reference laboratories for formal
diagnosis. He emphasized the need to acquire incinerators
capable of safely destroying liquid waste, as well as
improving methods of disposing of biohazardous waste.
Ellis discussed current technologies and that Orazov could
meet with the makers of such equipment at the ABSA
Conference in October. Orazov was interested in visiting
other labs both in the region and in the U.S., as well as
attending the ABSA Conference.

THE INTERNET LEADS TO A LAB



6. (SBU) The delegation then visited MOHMI's Experimental
Industrial Centre of the Sanitary Epidemiological Station
(SES). SES Director, Dr. Aman Iomudov, proudly presented
an individual who had attended NAMRU-3-sponsored training
on scientific techniques related to Avian Influenza

ASHGABAT 00000856 002 OF 002


diagnostics in Cairo. Iomudov also stressed his interest
in receiving access to biosafety and biosecurity training
opportunities for both technicians and higher-level
management, as he himself had designed and built the SES's
newest of several biological labs based only upon his
internet research. Ellis, an expert on biological labs,
praised the lab as well done, and emphasized that both the
U.S. and Canadian programs can offer training opportunities
as well as provide in-country expert support for future
efforts.



7. (SBU) COMMENT: Turkmenistan officials displayed a
willingness to cooperate more fully and in a way that would
help develop the country's medical capabilities. Showing
the signs of years of isolation, the MOD,s continued desire
to learn of international practices and MOHMI's plans to
rebuild the health industry are encouraging. The SES
director's resourcefulness and access to the Internet is
encouraging, to say the least. The visit did not fulfill
one of the delegation's primary objectives, which was to
visit the Anti-Plague Installation (API), where the more
dangerous pathogens are possibly kept. The Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, which provided an escort for the entire
visit, proved unable or unwilling to arrange the approved
visit to the API. However, Turkmenistan likely wanted to
show off the best lab that it had, and not a potentially
sub-standard facility. END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND