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Cablegate: Sudan Health Ministry Requests Sanctions Waiver On Cancer

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0639 1151356
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241356Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0654

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000639

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/E WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
DEPT FOR EEB/ESC/TFS JOHN MARSHALL KLEIN
DEPT PLS PASS USTREASURY FOR OFAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFPC PGOV PREL EFIN ECON EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN HEALTH MINISTRY REQUESTS SANCTIONS WAIVER ON CANCER
TREATMENT EQUIPMENT


1. (U) This is an action request. See para 5.

2. (U) SUMMARY: Post has been contacted by the Sudanese Ministry
of Health (via Sudanese Foreign Ministry), in a note dated
4/13/2008, with a request for assistance in permitting importation
of radioisotopes and related equipment for cancer therapy. The
Director General of the Radiation and Isotopes Center of Khartoum
informed the Ministry that the Varian Brachytherapy Services Company
refuses to ship these items to Sudan due to U.S. export controls and
economic sanctions. Post requests Department's guidance and
assistance in seeking the necessary waiver(s) on humanitarian
grounds to allow export of these items to Sudan. END SUMMARY.

3. (U) The note from the Health Ministry requests Embassy's
assistance with facilitating the importation, and in granting the
U.S.-based company the necessary license to operate in Sudan, in
order that cancer patients in Sudan not be deprived of this
life-saving medical treatment. An attached letter to the Minister
of Health from Dr. Hussein Mohamed Ahmed, Director of the Radiation
and Isotopes Center in Khartoum, explains that the equipment in
question is a "Brachytherapy High Dose Rate Machine." He states
that "this machine treats cancer patients suffering from cervix
cancer, pharynx cancer, breast cancer, nasal pharynx, rectal cancer,
bladder cancer and prostate cancer. The lack of this machine means
depriving all these patients from treatment, thus, loss of hope in
recovery and ending their suffering."

4. (U) Accompanying the request is a copy of a March 13, 2008 email
from Richard Dillon, identified as "Varian Brachytherapy Service
Manager" (tel. +44-1293-601-295; email Richard.Dillon@varian.com)
informing that "Varian is a US based company, and further to recent
advice from our US Corporate department we have been instructed to
check compliance against the current export control policy - which
at the current time prohibits Varian personnel from carrying out any
business activities in Sudan. Unfortunately this means that we are
temporarily unable to ship the radioactive source wires to Sudan, as
doing so would contravene these policies. Of course we are
constantly monitoring the situation, and will of course re-commence
the supply immediately we're given the go-ahead to do so."

5. (U) ACTION REQUESTED: Post supports an export license in this
case if at all possible for obvious humanitarian and medical
reasons. It is our understanding that the U.S. exporter (Varian)
must apply to the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC) for a license to export to Sudan. We request
that the Department contact OFAC to ascertain whether Varian has
done so. If application has been made, we request that the
Department work with OFAC to facilitate its issuance. If Varian has
not applied, we request prompt guidance on how to respond to the
Health Ministry so as to assist them in facilitating this export.

FERNANDEZ

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