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UPDATED: 13:42, March 07, 2006
Ministers of Black Sea countries meet on anti-bird flu measures
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Agriculture ministers and experts from five Black Sea countries met here Monday to discuss possible joint measures against bird flu, including the establishment of an international research center in Romania.

At the meeting, representatives from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Turkey discussed ways to prevent the further spread of the disease, which has led to the culling of millions of poultry and multi-million dollars of losses in agriculture, according to the Rompres news agency.

The delegates also mulled over the possibility of establishing an information sharing mechanism on bird flu control, particularly in border areas of these countries.

At the meeting, Romania proposed to establish in the Danube Delta town of Tulcea an international research center on bird flu, said Romanian Minister of Agriculture Gheorghe Flutur.

Flutur said he will travel to a number of European Union countries to lobby for the project, which is estimated to cost several millions of euros.

"We have taken the first steps with the EU, and we hope to set up the center before autumn," said Flutur.

Wetlands near the Black Sea lie on a major migratory route for wild birds, believed to be the carriers of bird flu which has been plaguing the region since October when Europe's first recorded outbreak of bird flu occurred among poultry in the Danube delta near the Black Sea coast.

So far, the bird flu virus has been found in more than 40 locations in Romania, making it the most affected European country.

Source: Xinhua

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