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Joint press release: Minister of Agriculture of the Lebanon and the OIE

The Office International des Epizooties
establishes a Regional Representation
for the Middle East

On 3 November 1998, His Excellency Mr Fakouri Chawki, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of the Lebanon, and Dr Jean Blancou, Director General of the Office International des Epizooties, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of an OIE Regional Representation for the Middle East in Beirut.

The ceremony was attended by Dr Sultan A. Sultan Al Khalaf, President of the OIE Regional Commission for the Middle East and Delegate of Kuwait, Dr Mansour Kassab, Delegate of the Lebanon and high-ranking animal health officials from the Lebanon and from elsewhere in the Middle East.

The main objective of the Regional Representation will be to contribute to improving animal disease surveillance in the region, to harmonising animal disease control, to structuring national Veterinary Services and to training veterinary officials, particularly with respect to animal health risks in production, importation and exportation.

The activities of the Regional Representation will be carried out under the auspices of the OIE International Committee, and will be conducted in close consultation with the other international organisations involved in animal health issues in the region: FAO<1, WHO<2, CMLZ<3, etc. The programme of activities for the forthcoming three years has been adopted in agreement with the OIE Member Countries of the Middle East. It will be financed by the OIE with an important contribution from the Government of the Lebanon. One of its primary aims will be to intensify the fight against livestock diseases (foot and mouth disease, peste des petits ruminants, rinderpest, etc.) and zoonoses (brucellosis, rabies, echinococcosis, etc.).

Dr Sultan Al Khalaf declared that the opening of the OIE Representation in the Middle East marked an important turning point in the history of the OIE.

The ceremony was followed by an audience accorded Dr Blancou and Dr. Sultan Al Khalaf by His Excellency the President of the Republic of the Lebanon, Mr Elias Hraoui. The President stated that he was very impressed with the progress achieved by the Veterinary Services in the field of harmonisation of animal disease surveillance and control world-wide, and expressed his appreciation of the confidence shown his country by the international community in choosing Beirut to host the Regional Representation. He extended his best wishes for the success of future actions of the OIE in the Middle East and assured the office of his full support.

1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
2 World Health Organization
3 Mediterranean Centre for the Control of Animal Diseases

Contact : Maria Zampaglione

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