18 September 2003

UN Drugs Chief: Drug, Human Trafficking Fuel Global Terror

UN to Step Up Anti Narcotic Efforts in CIS Region

VIENNA, 18 September (UN Information Service)  -- Addressing ministers of foreign affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) meeting in Yalta (Ukraine) today, Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), stressed the importance of stepping up counter-narcotic efforts in this region, especially in view of the large-scale opium production in nearby Afghanistan.

"On the one hand, the trafficking of Afghan opium through the territories of CIS has a negative effect on the health of population, like the current catastrophic scale of HIV/AIDS in the region. On the other, it also nourishes organized crime, laundering of enormous profits from narco trafficking, and the resulting spread of corruption, illicit trafficking in fire-arms and human beings. All this together is financially fuelling global terrorist operations," Mr. Costa said.

He offered his Office's technical assistance to CIS and its individual member states in implementing their programmes against drugs and crime, as well as in implementing the CIS Programme of Urgent Measures against HIV/AIDS epidemic, 2003-2005.

"UNODC is expanding its cooperation both with individual countries and with the CIS region as a whole. Given the threat posed to national security by drug abuse, drug trafficking and HIV/AIDS, even greater efforts are needed to step up our work in this area," Mr. Costa said.

So far, over $50 million in technical assistance has been provided to the governments in the region. Mr. Costa will also address these issues in a speech to the Council of Heads of State of the CIS countries on 19 September.

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