PRESS RELEASE

UNODC working with Kyrgyzstan's new anti-drug agency to curb illicit narcotics and organized crime

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Vienna / Bishkek. 25 April 2011. Executive Director Yury Fedotov today met with Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva and Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev as part of a visit to the country to discuss UNODC's expanding partnership and sign off on a new project in support of Kyrgyzstan's State Service on Drug Control. The main goal of the project is to support the re-established State Service on Drug Control and to build its capacity and effectiveness in countering illicit drug trafficking. UNODC, an agency that has a lot of experience in similar assistance, has been supported in this initiative by the Governments of the Russian Federation, the United States of America and the Republic of Kazakhstan which have provided contributions to its implementation.

The UN's anti-drug and crime chief expressed that situated in relative proximity to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan has a key role to play in fighting the movement of Afghan opiates to Europe, the Russian Federation, and China and assured the country that UNODC would continue its assistance in tackling drugs in the area. Speaking on the sidelines of his meeting with Mr. Vitaly Orozaliev, Chairperson of the State Service on Drug Control, Mr. Fedotov noted: "The formation of this agency is critical in combating the interconnected ills of drug trafficking and organized crime. UNODC is proud to be able to work with authorities in assisting the people of  Kyrgyzstan and the wider region in reducing the threat of illicit drugs and we look forward to expanding our existing partnership."

Mr. Fedotov also met with the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Akhmatbek Keldibekov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ruslan Kazakbaev on the back of growing cooperation between UNODC and the Kyrgyz Government. In recent years, UNODC's portfolio has expanded to include mutual legal assistance, enhancing cross-border cooperation, combating transnational organized crime, effectively promoting drug dependence treatment, responding to HIV and AIDS as it relates to both drug users and in prison settings, and countering human trafficking.

The Executive Director highlighted Kyrgyzstan's policies in the treatment of drug dependence and in the response to the HIV epidemic, particularly in the implementation of evidence-based methods. He additionally underlined the participation of Kyrgyzstan in the UNODC Treatnet programme which adopts an ethical, health-centred and science-based practice towards treatment.

Mr. Fedotov also visited a pre-trial detention centre while in Bishkek to discuss issues of prison management and further cooperation in the area. As a key aspect of UNODC's criminal justice work, this forms part of a €3 million European Union-funded project to support a comprehensive prison reform programme in Kyrgyzstan. "UNODC is committed to working with the Kyrgyz Government to improve the quality of prisons in the country, and to help the Government implement rule of law and criminal justice reforms. UNODC brings significant expertise in the area of prison reform in low-income, developing countries which takes into account the key requirements of ownership, sustainability and replicability", said Mr. Fedotov.

For further information please contact:

In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan:

Vera Tkachenko, International Project Manager: UNODC

T: (+996) 312-321-732 | M: (+996) 555-787-912 | E: vera.tkachenko@unodc.org

In Vienna, Austria:

Kevin Town, Associate Public Information Officer: UNODC

T: (+43-1) 26060-5575 | M: (+43-699) 1459-5575 | E: kevin.town@unodc.org

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