Closing the Gates on Drugs, Crime and Financing of Terrorism
CIS Heads of State Meeting
Dushanbe, 5 October 2007
I had the honour of addressing your Ministers of Foreign Affairs yesterday. My message to them is that according to our data, the CIS is under attack. The record opium harvest in Afghanistan - over 8,000 tonnes - will lead to the production of some 1,000 tonnes of heroin. This amount implies not only health consequences - spreading drug addiction and HIV-infection. It also brings enormous profits to criminals and extremists as well as instability and is a source of terrorist financing.
75% of the Afghan opium is cultivated in the most unstable southern regions of the country, far away from your borders - in the regions controlled by the Taliban. Though the north of Afghanistan is largely free of opium cultivation, it is an active region for heroin production and trafficking. Details are provided in the documents that I am ready to share with you.
By our estimates, 20% of the heroin produced in Afghanistan is trafficked through Central Asia, which is more than 200 tonnes - a record amount. In Afghanistan, that amount is worth half a billion US dollars. When trafficked across Central Asia's borders the profits to drug traffickers increase several-fold. On the streets of Moscow, London and Paris it will be worth several billion dollars. As only around 4% of these drugs are being seized you can imagine the amounts of money going to terrorist organizations! By comparison, in Latin America the level of cocaine seizures is 25%.
How can we strengthen our defences?
First of all, more should be done in Afghanistan itself through eradication, rural development, and strengthening criminal justice. As I have said to President Karzai, it is also vital to crack down on the corruption that lubricates the drugs industry. Moreover, at a meeting with the NATO Council in Brussels on 5 th September I called for operations aimed at dismantling clandestine laboratories, opium markets and drug convoys.
But the opium problem is bigger than Afghanistan. Therefore, it must be tackled by all those affected. We have a common interest and a shared responsibility.
Let's be frank. Much of Afghanistan's border is wide open. My Office is actively working in the southern provinces of Afghanistan and supports strengthening cooperation with Pakistan and Iran. I will be happy to brief you on this initiative in the course of bilateral meetings.
At the same time, we also pay serious attention to the northern route. In particular, UNODC is assisting countries of Central Asia to improve border management. More should be done to improve sharing intelligence on trafficking routes. To that end, we have brokered the creation of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARRICC) which, I hope, will begin operations in the nearest future. I urge the countries-members of the Central Asian counter-narcotics Memorandum of Understanding to lend political support to this important venture and to facilitate the ratification process.
It is also essential to strengthen cooperation in legal matters to bring to justice major drug-traffickers. To this end, I urge you all - particularly Russia as a Permanent Member of the Security Council - to follow the Security Council resolution 1735 by adding names of drug traffickers to the Al-Qaida/Taliban list. We must end their impunity.
Dear friends, the situation in Afghanistan looks grim, but it is not hopeless. The CIS can play a key role in containing the problem by closing down the northern route for drugs and their precursors. The UN finds Counter-narcotics Agencies similar to the ones my Office has established in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan very effective. In this context I thank the Government of Tajikistan for the opportunity to visit the Counter-narcotics Agency today and the border territories tomorrow.
By pooling resources and information, strengthening capacity, and working with neighbours like Iran and China, the CIS can plug the holes along Central Asia's borders.
I urge you to use all available mechanisms - like the Paris Pact, the OSCE, CSTO, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization - to address this issue. In this context I would like to thank the CIS Secretariat for its effective cooperation.
Before closing, let me invite you to draw on the technical assistance available at my Office to fight drugs, corruption, crime and terrorism.
I am confident that together we can close the gates of the CIS to Afghan drugs and their negative consequences towards health and security in your countries.
Mr. Chairman, before closing allow me to congratulate, on behalf of the UN Secretary General, His Excellency the President of Tajikistan Mr. Rakhmon on the occasion of his birthday.
Thank you all for your attention.