1 April 2003

UN to Increase Counter-Narcotics Assistance to Cape Verde

VIENNA, 1 April (UN Information Service) -- Visiting Vienna on a tour aimed at ensuring a broad international participation in the upcoming Roundtable Meeting of the country's development partners, Ms. Fatima Veiga, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of Cape Verde, met with Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to discuss the drugs and crime situation in that country.

They have expressed concern over recent developments, particularly the transhipment of cocaine through Cape Verde, with the resulting increase in local drug abuse, money laundering and human trafficking. Mr. Costa welcomed the proposal for a separate roundtable on mobilisation of resources for implementation of a national drug control plan, expressing the readiness of UNODC to expand its partnership with Cape Verde.

"Our joint effort is a test case of assistance to small island countries in Africa and elsewhere, where it is still possible to prevent serious and widespread drug abuse and crime to take place," Mr. Costa said.

UNODC is already running two projects in the country aimed at reducing drug demand and supporting anti-money laundering activities through the harmonisation of legislation and provision of training.

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