Laos, international anti-drug agencies to further cooperation
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Author: Souknilundon Douthoivongnorath
Newspaper section: International Cooperation
The Lao National Commission for Drug Control (LCDC) believes cooperation with diplomats and international agencies is essential if illegal drug trafficking and other drug related problems are to be controlled.
LCDC Vice Chairman Kou Chansina made the comments to delegates returning to Vientiane yesterday after attending a meeting of the Illicit Drug Sector Working Group and Mini Dublin Group in Savannakhet province from February 15-18.
"I hope to see good cooperation among diplomats and international organisations to support us in solving these problems in Savannakhet province. They have already gathered a large amount of information on these issues," he said. Mr Kou said the delegates have a major role to play in convincing provincial authorities they need to show determination in solving the problem.
The delegates made many visits including to the provincial drug rehabilitation centre, with human trafficking officials, and to the Savan Vegas casino to gather information about drugs and their illegal trade.
They also had a meeting with provincial officials led by Vice Governor Dr Souphan Keomixay on ways to solve the problems in Savannakhet province.
Mr Kou reported at the meeting that drugs and their related threats to national socio-economic development are not just a problem for Laos , but a global concern. "In 2010, we need to be extra vigilant to ensure that drug trends in Laos are checked. Support must be provided to undertake urgent measures; this includes scaling up of assistance to the remaining 1,000 former opium poppy cultivating villages, continuing to address increasing drug abuse and supporting civic awareness, legislative and criminal justice measures," he said.
Mr. Kou said if they do not join together to fight against drugs, they cannot succeed. Continued support from all sectors together with the international community is required to support the successful implementation of the National Drug Control Master Plan 2009-2013 towards the vision of a drug free ASEAN in the year 2015.
This is not the first time that the LCDC, diplomats and international organisations have come to gather information about drug problems in Laos . They have previously visited Xieng Khuang, Huaphan, Oudomxay, Luang Namtha and Bokeo provinces, and this year it is the turn of Savannakhet.
Attending the activities led by Mr Kou were Australian Ambassador to Laos and Co Chair of the Illicit Drug Sector Working Group Dr Michele Forster and UNODC Representative to the Lao PDR Mr Leik Boonwaat, as well as other diplomats in Laos.