27 October 2009

Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Strengthen Counter-Narcotics Cooperation

VIENNA, 27 October (UN Information Service) - Today at a high-level meeting of the Triangular Initiative, Ministers from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan agreed to a number of practical steps to strengthen cooperation and capacity in their joint efforts to control drug trafficking.

"Drugs pose a threat to the health and security of our region, and we must work together to fight it," said senior counter narcotics, law enforcement and justice officials from the three countries most affected by Afghan opium. "Since more than 90 per cent of the world's opium comes from Afghanistan and most of it is going via Iran and Pakistan, improving counter-narcotics between these three countries is essential," said Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa.

Mr. Costa praised Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan for their efforts. At the same time, he noted that there are limits to what any state can do alone. "Success depends on information exchange and intelligence-led operations, targeting the major trans-national networks. That means working with neighbours as well as consuming countries," he said. The Triangular Initiative, brokered by UNODC in June 2007, is designed to achieve just that.

At the Vienna meeting, the three parties agreed to appoint permanent liaison officers to the Triangular Initiative's Joint Planning Cell in Tehran in order to enhance analytical and operational capacity. They also agreed to establish Border Liaison Offices - one on each side of each respective border. Furthermore, they agreed to step up the number of joint patrols and joint operations. These measures are designed to improve drug control and strengthen trust and confidence.

The meeting also focused on linking the Triangular Initiative to the Central Asia Regional Intelligence Centre (CARICC) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as well as a possible future intelligence-sharing centre in the Gulf (GCCI). "This will confront a transnational criminal network with a multi-lateral intelligence and counter-narcotic network never seen before," said Mr. Costa.

At the end of the meeting, participants briefed major partners. "We all have a vested interest in the success of this Initiative," participants said, "The more drugs that can be stopped at the source, the less damage will be done downstream." For more on the impact of the Afghan drugs trade see UNODC's report: Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The transnational threat of Afghan opium.

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For further information, please contact:

Walter Kemp
Spokesman and Speechwriter, UNODC
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: walter.kemp@unodc.org