Tehran hosts a meeting on drug control with Pakistan and Afghanistan
20 June 2011- Senior officials from the Islamic Republics of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan met in Tehran on 31 May 2011 to deepen counter narcotics cooperation under the framework of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)-brokered Triangular Initiative.
The meeting, hosted by Iran Drug Control Headquarters and UNODC in the Islamic Republic of Iran, is part of the series of gatherings foreseen by the Triangular Initiative and aimed at discussing existing drug trafficking threats, regional counter-narcotic strategies, and operational means to improve trilateral cooperation. The Triangular Initiative was launched in 2007 to strengthen cooperation in counter-narcotics law enforcement between the Islamic Republics of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. UNODC serves as its Secretariat; it facilitates the implementation of technical assistance and mobilizes financial support. The initiative has so far helped to forge an unprecedented level of cooperation on drug control between the three countries.
During the meeting, Mr. Antonino De Leo, Country Representative of UNODC in the Islamic Republic of Iran, congratulated the Governments of the three countries and commended their anti-narcotics police and border agencies for their tireless efforts in fighting drug trafficking. Mr. De Leo quoted the Executive Director of UNODC, Mr. Yury Fedotov, affirming that ''Your countries are the first line of defense against the massive flow of illicit drugs that threatens security throughout the region and beyond. Many of your law enforcement and border control agents, as well as ordinary citizens, have sacrificed their lives in the fight against drug trafficking. This is a terrible price to pay, and we mourn their loss."
The senior counter narcotics officials who attended the meeting reaffirmed their strong commitment to broadening the working capacity of the Joint Planning Cell in Tehran, a body established with the purpose of sharing information and intelligence, and organizing joint counter-narcotics operations. The three countries have so far conducted ten joint operations at their common border areas, dismantling and arresting drug traffickers, and seizing significant amounts of drug destined to the region and beyond. The officials also agreed to take further steps to improve border management and control. Acknowledging the unprecedented security challenges posed by drug trafficking, especially in border areas, the parties requested UNODC to increase its level of assistance in order to reach regional drug control targets. The Triangular Initiative was consequently agreed to be a core component of UNODC Regional Programme.
"UNODC is proud to have brokered such an important process, which can contribute to tackle one of the world's biggest drug control challenges", remarked Mr. De Leo. He urged the three countries to further increase cooperation and promised that UNODC would continue to provide assistance, including by mobilizing international donors' financial support. The implementation of the Triangular Initiative is already one of the priorities of UNODC Country Programme in the Islamic Republic of Iran: a specific component of the programme, partly funded by the generous contributions of the Government of Denmark, promotes a regional response for countering the traffic of drugs and precursors from/to Afghanistan.