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Cablegate: Ai - Supari Interview Raises Science Vs. Politics Analysis

VZCZCXRO2042
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #3488 3650501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310501Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7525
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J07/CATMED/CAT//
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8271
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1826
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1070
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7708

UNCLAS JAKARTA 003488

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED CASC EAGR AMGT PGOV ID
SUBJECT: AI - SUPARI INTERVIEW RAISES SCIENCE VS. POLITICS ANALYSIS


1. (U) In a December 19 online interview in the journal "Nature",
Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari reiterated her position that
developed countries benefit from the sharing of avian influenza
virus samples at the expense of poorer, developing countries (full
text available at:
http://emboj.org/news/2007/071219/full/450113 7a.html). Supari
emphasized that there must be a system to track virus samples and
that commercial companies seeking to create a vaccine from any
sample must negotiate with that sample's source country. She stated
that the key outstanding concession that Indonesia demands from the
World Health Organization is that all shared virus samples be
subject to a material transfer agreement (MTA). Supari praised the
Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), which
she considered a "fair and transparent" mechanism for regulating
genetic-sequencing databases because it includes a MTA.

POLITICS VS. SCIENCE
---------------------

2. (U) In a December 31 op-ed piece, Jakarta Post journalist Emmy
Fitri, who has written several pieces on AI, questioned the timing
and purpose of Supari's politically motivated stance (copy emailed
to EAP/MTS and G/AIAG). Rather than playing the victim in front of
the international community, Fitri suggested that the minister would
better serve the country by using her political skills to secure
funding from the parliament and provincial authorities to combat AI
domestically.

3. (U) Fitri proposed that the top priority for preventing
AI-related deaths should be public education on proper poultry
handling. Despite living in a hotbed for germs and viruses, she
added, Indonesians show little awareness of good sanitary practices.
She blamed the gap on the government's failure to prioritize money
and strategies to strengthen the health sector. If anything has to
be politicized, she concluded, the GOI should use political
diplomacy to raise awareness of the threat from AI and coordinate
efforts to manage the human and health sectors.

HUME

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