US embassy cable - 06BAKU235

AMBASSADOR AND UN RESIDENT COORDINATOR URGE AZERBAIJAN'S PRIME MINISTER TO ENGAGE ON AVIAN INFLUENZA

Identifier: 06BAKU235
Wikileaks: View 06BAKU235 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baku
Created: 2006-02-15 13:36:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KFLU SOCI TBIO KSCA EAGR EAID CASC ASEC AJ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO8161
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKB #0235/01 0461336
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151336Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9616
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1478
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0267
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0184
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0112
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0129
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAKU 000235 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR OES, EUR/CACEN, MED AND EUR/PGI 
DEPT PLEASE PASS USAID 
ANKARA FOR AGRICULTURAL ATTACHE 
USDA PASS CMP/ITP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/16/2016 
TAGS: KFLU, SOCI, TBIO, KSCA, EAGR, EAID, CASC, ASEC, AJ 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR AND UN RESIDENT COORDINATOR URGE 
AZERBAIJAN'S PRIME MINISTER TO ENGAGE ON AVIAN INFLUENZA 
 
REF: (A) BAKU 208 (B) BAKU 189 (C) BAKU 187 AND 
     PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Reno L. Harnish III, Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: On February 14 Ambassador Harnish along with 
representatives from UN agencies and the USAID country 
director met with Prime Minister Artur Rasizadeh to urge a 
more active response by the GOAJ to the avian influenza 
outbreak in Azerbaijan.  In a positive step forward, 
Rasizadeh gave his personal guarantee that the USAID avian 
influenza expert currently in Baku would have permission to 
travel throughout the entire country, visit relevant 
laboratory facilities and work directly with GOAJ experts. 
This freedom of movement and access to GOAJ facilities had 
been hampering the ability of international experts to 
provide advice to GOAJ officials and international donors on 
appropriate steps forward.  It appears that the GOAJ is not 
able to coordinate offers of funding, assistance and 
equipment from the international community and the GOAJ is 
having difficulty coping.  Today's frank discussions, 
followed up by continued U.S. and international community 
pressure, are the best sign that the GOAJ may be ready to get 
its act together and respond better to the avian influenza 
threat.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) Ambassador Harnish, UNDP representative Marco 
Borsotti, UNICEF country director Hanaa Singer, and the USAID 
country coordinator called on Prime Minister Artur Rasizadeh 
and Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Abbasov to urge them to take 
immediate actions to establish an inter-ministerial group to 
deal with the avian influenza outbreak and develop a public 
outreach plan to provide accurate and reliable information on 
avian influenza for the general population. Singer has been 
coordinating the international donor community's efforts to 
engage the GOAJ on its avian influenza response and strategy. 
 Deputy PM Abbasov has been leading the GOAJ's response and 
has so far failed to actively organize the relevant 
government ministries and overall GOAJ strategy (REFTELS). 
 
3. (C) Ambassador Harnish told PM Rasizadeh that the 
international donor community stood shoulder-to-shoulder with 
Azerbaijan reay to assist with funding, equipment and 
technical assistance.  The UNDP head stressed the need for 
Azerbaijan to react quickly in order to avoid the 
transmission of avian influenza from wild fowl to domestic 
birds, including chicken.  The UNICEF and USAID country 
directors briefed on the resources available to the GOAJ, 
both stressing the need for government officials to 
coordinate closely with the international donor community and 
experts. 
 
4. (C) Rasizadeh listened intently to the frank comments of 
Ambassador Harnish and the group regarding the GOAJ,s lack 
of action and need to improve coordination to respond to the 
avian influenza outbreak.  He also appeared frustrated at the 
GOAJ's lack of coordination and strategy.  As he warmed to 
the discussion, Rasizadeh reiterated that the government was 
concerned about the outbreak and was monitoring the situation 
daily.  He agreed on the need to avoid the transmission of 
avian influenza from wild fowl to domestic poultry.  He added 
that the GOAJ had sent "mobile units" to various regions to 
monitor the situation.  He also showed the Ambassador and the 
group a print-out list of all the regions in Azerbaijan where 
dead birds had been found.  Rasizadeh noted that the GOAJ was 
working with the World Health Organization and the entire 
donor community to combat the spread of the disease. 
 
5. (C) On the positive side, Prime Minister Rasizadeh gave 
his personal guarantee that the USAID avian influenza expert 
currently in Baku would have permission to travel throughout 
the entire country, visit relevant laboratory facilities and 
work directly with GOAJ experts.  Rasizadeh even offered to 
provide a written guarantee if necessary.  Prior to the 
meeting, the USAID country coordinator had complained that 
local GOAJ officials were refusing to allow the avian 
influenza expert to travel to different parts of Azerbaijan 
and refusing him access to local laboratories.  (NOTE: As of 
February 15, GOAJ access and support for this U.S. avian 
influenza expert appeared to be still lacking.) 
 
BAKU 00000235  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C) In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Abbasov indicated 
that after the meeting he planned to invite the USAID expert 
to a meeting with GOAJ experts to review the government's 
avian influenza action plan and solicit recommendations.  As 
part of the GOAJ's avian influenza task force, Deputy 
Minister Abbasov helped develop the government's action plan 
and told the group that the action plan would be distributed 
later in the afternoon.  The PM said that the GOAJ would 
welcome action plan ideas from other countries, such as 
Turkey, that Azerbaijan could draw upon for advice.  The 
UNICEF country director later noted, however, that the 
Ministry of Health was not a part of the government's task 
force and may have had only a limited role in drafting the 
action plan. 
 
7. (C) Rasizadeh also highlighted the need for the GOAJ to 
closely monitor the outbreak, destroy infected birds, protect 
the workers culling the infected birds, perform the necessary 
laboratory work on samples, fully isolate wild fowl from 
domestic birds and, with the Ministry of Health,s 
assistance, increase wider personal hygiene practices in the 
population.  At the Ambassador's urging, Rasizadeh admitted 
that the GOAJ needed to develop a public awareness campaign 
to spread accurate information about avian influenza.  At the 
end of the meeting, Rasizadeh said that the international 
donor community should take the lead on the public awareness 
campaign, noting that Azerbaijani citizens do not trust or 
believe the government.  As Rasizadeh said this, the Deputy 
Minister Abbasov appeared concerned and attempted to 
interrupt the Prime Minister but was quickly quieted. 
 
8. (C) COMMENT: Based on the Prime Minister's comments, it is 
clear that two weeks into the avian influenza outbreak the 
GOAJ has not yet developed a government-wide plan to respond 
to it.  The GOAJ appears to be trying to formulate and 
implement a clear plan, but without much success.  The PM 
commented that the GOAJ had sent instructions to local 
government authorities (ExComs) to take action regarding 
avian influenza.  The PM then complained about his lack of 
control over local government authorities, noting that the 
attitude and behavior of some ExComs indicated they were not 
taking the avian influenza outbreak seriously.  The PM 
indicated that GOAJ still had no idea what equipment it had 
and what equipment it needed.  The GOAJ appears to be 
overwhelmed by the international donor community's offers of 
assistance and equipment and is therefore processing the 
requests slowly and haphazardly.  Today's frank discussions, 
followed up by continued U.S. and international community 
pressure, are the best sign that the GOAJ is ready to get its 
act together and respond better to the avian influenza 
threat.  END COMMENT. 
HARNISH 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04