22 September

Qatar to Host New Regional Intelligence Centre against Drug Trafficking

VIENNA, 22 September (UN Information Service) - The Government of Qatar has pledged US $10 million to set up a state-of-the-art criminal intelligence centre in Doha to help countries in the Gulf combat drug trafficking.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is providing technical help for the centre, which is expected to become operational by mid-2007. The new centre will help law enforcement authorities in the region share real-time operational intelligence and improve their ability to arrest drug traffickers.

"I applaud this initiative by the Government of Qatar, which is particularly timely after the alarming upsurge in Afghan opium production this year," UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said on Friday after signing an agreement with H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar's Minister of State for Internal Affairs.

The pledge consists of US $4.5 million to create the centre and a US $5.5 million in-kind contribution by the Government of Qatar towards the facilities and the building.

This is the second recent initiative by the Government of Qatar to assist UNODC with its anti-drug activities.

In May of this year, a new Global Sports Fund was inaugurated in Doha with funding of US $2.5 million which will be used to encourage young people around the world to get involved in sport rather than being drawn into drugs and crime.

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For further information contact:

Richard Murphy
UNODC Spokesman
Tel +43 1 26060 5761 Mobile +43 699 1459 5761
Email: richard.murphy@unodc.org