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Mission by Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, to Syria and Lebanon

Dr Bernard Vallat made first an official three-day visit to Syria at the invitation of the Syrian authorities.

He held discussions with His Excellency Adel Safar, Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, and Dr George Khoury, Delegate of Syria to the OIE, and reviewed the excellent relations between Syria and the OIE and the animal health policies applied by Syria and the Member Countries attached to the OIE Regional Commission for the Middle East (RCME).

The desire of both Syria and the OIE to strengthen the OIE Regional Representation for the Middle East (RRME) was reaffirmed.
The Director General welcomed the will shown by the Syrian authorities to strengthen and modernise the Veterinary Services and the country's animal disease control legislation.

He emphasised the need for the RCME to further strengthen the region's veterinary scientific community, with the aim of establishing veterinary Reference Laboratories officially recognised by the OIE and its Member Countries and participating more actively in preparatory discussions on standards and guidelines for adoption by the OIE. He reiterated his readiness to provide full support for this process.

Dr Vallat then visited Lebanon where he first had the honour of being received by the Prime Minister, His Excellency Rafik Al-Hariri. Their discussions included the future of the RRME, to which His Excellency the Prime Minister reiterated his firm and lasting support.

Dr Vallat then met Dr Mansour Kassab, Delegate of Lebanon to the OIE and Member of the OIE Administrative Commission, the Director General of Agriculture and the Dr Ghazi Yehia, OIE Regional Representative for the Middle East.

Their discussions were very constructive and concerned Lebanon's support for the RRME and its regional action programmes, the excellent bilateral relations between Lebanon and the OIE, and the country's policies on animal production, animal health and animal production food safety.

The progress made in all these areas will enable the OIE to target more effectively its support for the animal health policies designed by Syria, Lebanon and the CRME.