24 January 2005

UN-EU Renew Commitment to Fight Organized Crime

VIENNA, 24 January (UN information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) met with Javier Solana, European Union (EU) High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, in Brussels today.

Among other issues, they discussed partnership between the EU and the UN in the global fight against drugs, organized crime and terrorism. The European security strategy coincides with the goals of UNODC and could provide the basis for cooperation.

Also high on the agenda was the rising opium production in Afghanistan; 90 per cent of the heroin sold on European streets originates from opium poppy grown in Afghanistan. Although the newly-elected Government is committed to curbing the record opium production of last year (4,200 tons according to UNODC’s Afghanistan Opium Survey 2004), it requires international assistance.

“The international community expects Afghanistan to start dismantling as of this year its opium economy. Democracy, the rule of law and economic development require time and we shall work hand in hand with the European Union and the Afghan Government to ensure that further progress is made,” said Mr. Costa, who will be visiting Afghanistan later this week.

This meeting comes days after an agreement was signed on 18 January between UNODC and the European Commission to increase mutual efforts and provide joint financing for projects aimed at preventing and controlling drug addiction, production and trafficking as well as other form of organized crime.

For more information, contact:

Kathleen Millar, Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Tel: (+43-1) 26060-5228
Mobile: (+43) 699 1459 5629
Email: unodcpress@unodc.org

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