Armenia, Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan, Philippines, Sierra Leone and Uganda also join the joint statement.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of strong national capacity for surveillance, diagnosis and response to infectious diseases,” the statement said.
“International cooperation and assistance is critical to developing these capabilities,” the statement said, noting that the aforementioned governments have cooperated “openly and transparently” through the Department of Defense’s Threat Reduction Program.
The statement also says that this partnership “has nothing to do with weapons… This partnership protects the health of people and animals in our countries, including by strengthening the prevention, detection and control of infectious diseases, as well as laboratory biosecurity and biosecurity.”
The statement also notes that participants in the program recognize its importance for global health security and reducing the impact of infectious diseases on society.
“Our governments strongly reaffirm the common view that such cooperation should not be interrupted, but should be developed and strengthened,” the statement said.
It should be noted that the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research of Georgia, which is subordinate to the National Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health of Georgia, has repeatedly become the object of misinformation from Moscow since its opening.
For example, in 2020, Yury Shvitkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense from the ruling United Russia party, said that Novichok-type nerve agents were being prepared in laboratories located in Georgia and the United States.
Most recently, in February 2022, the “KGB” of occupied Tskhinvali, which is headed by former Russian FSB officer Oleg Shiran, claimed that Tbilisi could use the research of the Lugar Center for Infectious Diseases for “bioterrorism” in the region.