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East Timor quarantine action welcomed.

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AFFA01/73WT 3 April 2001

East Timor quarantine actions welcomed

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Warren Truss has today welcomed the decision by the United Nation's Transitional Administration of East Timor (UNTAET) to prohibit the import to East Timor of all meat, meat products, dairy products and other animal products from countries where either FMD or BSE are found.

Mr Truss said he has been informed that this decision will have immediate effect and include a ban on all products where the country of origin cannot be certified.

"It is important that everything possible is done to keep foot and mouth disease out of East Timor and the region," Mr Truss said.

"I am pleased that UN has responded quickly to Australia's concerns and put in place strong measures to protect East Timor's foot and mouth-free status."

Mr Truss said he had been particularly concerned at reports that shipments of meat and dairy products from BSE and FMD active countries were likely to be imported by East Timor.

Illegal imports of pig meat from China are considered to be the likely cause of the recent outbreak of FMD in England.

The UN directive follows Australia's concerns about comments from the UN's East Timor Transitional Administration Director of Agricultural Affairs comments that foot and mouth disease is probably in East Timor.

A senior AQIS officer travelled to East Timor last weekend to investigate the issue and discuss foot and mouth quarantine issues with UNTAET administrators.

"The AQIS official met with a number of UNTAET officials and confirmed Australia's view that East Timor remains FMD-free," Mr Truss said.

"The Federal Government has put in place a range of special procedures to deal with the quarantine risks associated with our involvement in East Timor and these will continue.

"Additional resources were allocated in last year’s budget to fund these extra quarantine measures required by the increased movements and the 100 per cent screening of personnel and equipment."

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 4 April 2001

URL: Commonwealth of Australia 2000