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Cablegate: Yemen Biosafety Status - Cartagena Protocol On

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SANAA 003099

SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO STATE/OES/ETC FOR H.LEE,
STATE/EB/TPP/ABT FOR R.SINGH, AND USDA/FAS/BIG FOR
JPPASSINO.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ETRD EAGR EAID TBIO YM ENVIRONMENT
SUBJECT: YEMEN BIOSAFETY STATUS - CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON
BIOSAFETY, ROUND TWO

REF: SECSTATE 259661

1. Ref A asked posts to help identify a small number of
countries in order to engage them in more detailed bilateral
discussions over the coming months over issues related to the
Cartagena Protocol. Since the conclusion of the February
2004 First Meeting of Parties (MOP-1) to the Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety, the ROYG has not enacted or initiated
any new laws, regulations or practices regarding US
agricultural and living modified organisms (LMO) trade.

2. A draft law banning LMO products was introduced by the
Cabinet over a year ago. After consideration, the Cabinet
decided to send the draft law to the Yemen Standardization,
Metrology and Quality Control Organization (YSMQCO), a
regulatory agency comprised of agricultural, meteorological
and other scientists. The YSMQCO recommended banning LMO
agricultural imports and sent this recommendation to the
Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr. Khaled Rajeh Sheikh.
Minister Sheikh froze the draft law until further study could
be made. YSMQCO Vice Director General Ahmed Al-Bashah noted
that the ROYG would like to observe the experiences of other
Arab countries and coordinate with them on these biosafety
issues. (Comment: Post believes Minister Sheikh is sitting
on the recommendation as he does not want to stifle trade
relations or bring greater attention to this matter with
prominent countries who trade LMO products. End Comment)

3. Discussion on LMO issues continues through the ROYG
interagency Biosafety Committee. Mr. Al-Bashah cited ongoing
and sporadic press coverage of the anticipated dangers of
genetically modified organism (GMO) products. While GMO
policy formulation is in its infancy in Yemen, the USDA
Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) has actively supported the
ROYG's ongoing efforts on this issue.

4. In early December 2004, ATO sponsored the travel of two
standardization working level officials to Cairo for a LMO
Middle Eastern forum for discussions with 14 Middle Eastern
and North African government officials including Yemen
represented by Al-Bashah. Al-Bashah said he appreciated
hearing about his colleagues' work on LMO regulations and
would use this knowledge as a resource for Yemen's biosafety
policy making. He specifically cited the experience of the
Gulf countries, Egypt, and Jordan as examples.

5. Overall, Yemen continues to tread water on LMO issues
while its decisionmakers await further guidance from
countries in the region and more input from interlocutors
such the U.S.
KRAJESKI

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