9 February 2001

President of Russia Meets with UNOV Director-General

VIENNA, 9 February (UN Information Service) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin met here today in Vienna with Pino Arlacchi, Director-General of the UN Office in Vienna and Executive Director of the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP).

Among the issues discussed were money laundering, drug control, organized crime and on-going cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United Nations in Vienna.

President Putin said he strongly supported the activities of the UniteSd Nations because the area in which Mr. Arlacchi and ODCCP work "is one of the most important today". He said "negative phenomena become global and must be countered on a global scale".

Noting that Russia had signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo, Italy, in December, he affirmed that his government would do its best to ensure ratification as soon as possible. He also expressed interest in the completion and adoption of the remaining protocol on arms trafficking early this year.

Russia did not have well protected borders to the south, he said, reaffirming his strong interest in cooperating actively with ODCCP to strengthen the Afghan-Tajikistan border to stop the flow of illicit drugs into Russia and Europe. "In Russia, we are going to do our best to block drug trafficking to Europe."

He confirmed his government decision to hold an international conference against money laundering on 5 and 6 June in St. Petersburg, grouping Russian and other leading world experts.

Mr. Arlacchi emphasized ODCCP´s excellent cooperation with Russia in the fields of drug and crime prevention, which had brought "impressive results" and the confiscation of "enormous amounts" of narcotics. "Only yesterday, 192 kilograms of heroin were confiscated en route from Afghanistan to Tajikistan, by the Russian Federal Border Service" he said. He discussed with President Putin the existence of large stockpiles of illicit narcotics in the region, and the need to mobilize international action in order to eliminate them.

He stressed the importance of an early adoption by the Russian Duma of appropriate legislation to combat money laundering and stated that ODCCP would collaborate with the Russian government to ensure the success of the international conference to be held in St Petersburg.

The Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, the Russian Ambassador to Austria A. B. Golovin and senior ODCCP officials attended the meeting.

* * * * *