07MOSCOW2093, RUSSIA: NO ANSWER YET ON SMALLPOX RESEARCH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW2093 2007-05-07 14:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

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

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