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Cablegate: Indonesia - June 27 Avian Influenza (Ai) Update

VZCZCXRO4735
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1257/01 1790725
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270725Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9405
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJB/DOJ WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7794

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001257

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, G/AIAG, L/DL, EAP/EX, AND OES/IHA
USAID FOR ANE/CLEMENTS AND GH/CARROLL
DEPT ALSO PASS TO HHS/WSTEIGER/MSTLOUIS AND HHS/NIH
DEPT ALSO PASS TO DOJ for OFL
GENEVA FOR WHO/HOHMAN
USDA/FAS/OSTA BRANT, ROSENBLUM
USDA/APHIS ANNELLI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR AMGT PGOV ID KLIG
SUBJECT: INDONESIA - JUNE 27 AVIAN INFLUENZA (AI) UPDATE

REFTEL: A) Jakarta 1247 B) Jakarta 786

1. (SBU) Summary. On June 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(DEPLU) indefinitely postponed the June 26 signing of a Biosecurity
Engagement Program (BEP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), citing
current NAMRU-2 politics as the reason for the signing ceremony
cancellation. On June 19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) officially
notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about two Avian
Influenza (AI) cases confirmed in May. Dr. Widjaja Lukito, Senior
Advisor to the Minister of Health later told us that the Associated
Press (AP) had erroneously released a story about Minister of Health
Fadilah Siti Supari refusing to share avian influenza case data as
cases occurred. On June 25, the WHO Jakarta Office received a legal
summons from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs naming the WHO as a
co-defendant with U.S. Government in a case brought by the family of
a deceased avian influenza victim. Minister of Health Supari
launched a new ASEAN website on emerging infectious diseases (EID)
on June 17. The AI independent panel review team completed their
three-week review on June 25 and briefed Ambassador Hume. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------------
Biosecurity Engagement Program MOU postponed
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) On June 25, DEPLU informed us that the June 26 signing
ceremony for a BEP MOU would be indefinitely postponed due to heated
debates in the press and legislature regarding NAMRU-2 (See Reftel
A). The MOU is an umbrella agreement between the United States and
Indonesia on capacity building to strengthen the security of
biological pathogens. DEPLU officials reported that the decision to
postpone the signing was made at the highest levels, following a
cabinet level meeting involving multiple ministries. Government
officials later confided that Minister of Health Supari had demanded
that the signing ceremony be stopped and threatened to go public
with her opposition (despite her earlier authorization of the MOU
process), and that other ministries reluctantly conceded.

3. (SBU) On June 26, Desra Percaya, DEPLU Director for International
Security and Disarmament expressed regret to Patricia McNerney,
Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Security and
Nonproliferation about the ceremony's sudden postponement.
Assistant Secretary McNerney had intended to sign the agreement
while in Indonesia. Percaya assured her that DEPLU still stood
behind the agreement and would ask Ambassador Hume to sign in a
quiet meeting, following a sufficient cooling off period.


-----------------------------------------
MOH Shares Data, Claims Misunderstanding
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) On June 19, the MOH officially notified the WHO about two
confirmed Avian Influenza (AI) cases confirmed in May. These
included a 16 year-old female from South Jakarta who died in May and
a 34 year-old female from Tangerang who died in early June. Dr.
Lukito Widjaja told us on June 22 the AP erroneously reported that
the Minister stopping sharing AI case information and that the
Ministry had been unofficially sharing information with the WHO. He
claimed she never intended to violate International Health
Regulations (IHR) which requires notification of new avian influenza
cases within 24 hours and that the press had unfortunately confused
the facts. Widjaja's comments came after the Jakarta Post published
a highly critical op-ed piece on June 20, describing the
shortcomings of current MOH practices in both reporting and handling
avian influenza cases. As of June 26, Indonesia reports 135 cases
of avain influenza, with 110 deaths.

---------------------------------------
WHO Local Office Receives Court Summons
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) On June 25, the WHO Jakarta Office received a legal summons
from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs naming the WHO and the U.S.
Government as defendants in a case brought by the family of an avian
influenza victim. (This is the same case that the Embassy had
received a summons for on April 16. See Reftel B.) The suit rests on

JAKARTA 00001257 002 OF 002


the claims made by Minister of Health Supari that the USG may be
behind the development of a bio-terrorism weapon derived from AI
samples. The summons lists a mid September court date. Embassy
Jakarta has not received similar notification for this court date.

---------------------------------
Supari Launches ASEAN EID Website
---------------------------------

6. (U) Minister Supari gave a welcoming speech at the June 17 launch
of a website for ASEAN Plus 3 countries (includes all ASEAN
countries plus China, S. Korea, and Japan) to exchange infectious
disease surveillance information. The Indonesian MOH will maintain
the web site, with AusAid funding. '"Multilateral coordination
which is mutually beneficial should be developed and maintained so
it can continue, including through information exchange among
nations," Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari was quoted
as saying by state news agency Antara.' The web site links to a
document describing the information sharing protocol between the
participating countries. Although AI is not specifically listed,
"human influenza caused by a new subtype" is posted as one of nine
reportable diseases, under a sub-heading of diseases/events that
fall under the International Health Regulations from the WHO.

--------------------------------
AI Review Team Completes Review
---------------------------------

7. (SBU) On June 25, the AI independent evaluation panel reviewing
USG activities in Indonesia to control avian influenza, presented
draft recommendations to Ambassador Hume. Recommendations fell into
four basic categories, general recommendations, and recommendations
for animal disease control, human health and social mobilization and
behavioral change communication. The nine member team completed a
three-week extensive evaluation of USG programs and visited numerous
government veterinary and public health institutions, private health
facilities, universities, community programs, laboratories, other
donor and international organizations, toured wet markets, small
commercial poultry farms, poultry slaughterhouses and poultry
vaccine manufacturers. The evaluation team departed Indonesia on
June 26 and will provide a draft report by June 28.

HUME

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