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UPDATED: 17:27, December 13, 2005
East Asia Summit to issue declaration on curbing bird flu
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An upcoming East Asia Summit will issue a declaration to address the current threat of bird flu, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur.

The East Asia Summit, slated for here Wednesday, "is expected to issue a Declaration on Avian Influenza Prevention, Control and Response, geared at enhancing national and regional capacities to deal with the current avian influenza epidemic," Badawi said at the 9th summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) leaders held here Tuesday.

The East Asia Summit, held for the first time, will gather leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries and those from ROK, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Badawi, the rotating chair of ASEAN, said a strong ASEAN-ROK dialogue relationship is also important to help address the threat, and "ASEAN looks forward to working closely with (South) Korea on this matter."

He said Malaysia shares the global concern on bird flu, and the country has expressed its intention to establish a Regional WHO Collaborating Center for Influenza at the World Health Organization meeting on Avian Influenza in Geneva last month " since the existing few WHO Reference Centers are located outside the ASEAN region."

The prime minister said that with the Malaysian Veterinary Research Institute's expertise on bird flu, the country is also proposing to set up a Regional Avian Influenza Research and Reference Center to "contribute towards global health security."

Source: Xinhua

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