UN and European Union tighten cooperation in war on drugs, crime and terror
Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), met with EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana yesterday in Brussels, less than a week after the two organizations signed an agreement to provide joint financing for projects aimed at preventing and controlling drug addiction, production and trafficking as well as other forms of organized crime.
Rising opium production in Afghanistan figured high on yesterday’s agenda, with 90 per cent of the heroin sold on European streets originating from opium poppy grown there. Although the newly elected Afghan 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,” said Mr. Costa, who will be visiting Afghanistan later this week. “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.”