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UNIS/NAR/827
20 January 2004

UN and Libya to Expand Cooperation against Drugs, Crime and Terrorism

IENNA, 20 January (UN Information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will pay an official visit to Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 21 to 23 January. He will meet the country’s most senior leaders, as well as visit detention facilities, drug treatment centres, and meet with the city of Tripoli administrators.

“We will explore ways to expand our cooperation with Libya, especially in light of the country’s announced commitment to fully contribute to international efforts against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. Libya can play a prominent role in these efforts both in North Africa and in the Arab world in general,” Mr. Costa said.

Libya is party to all UN conventions against drugs. The country has ratified the UN treaty against organized crime as well as all twelve universal instruments for the prevention and suppression of international terrorism. On 23 December 2003 the country also signed the new UN Convention against Corruption.

“UNODC stands ready to assist Libya in fighting corruption, which has been the government’s priority. Trafficking in human beings is another problem we would address together. We strongly support Libyan leadership’s commitment to face the threat of drug abuse,” Mr. Costa said. “HIV/AIDS has been a serious concern: we intend to work together to face it and reduce its impact.”

UNODC has been working in the country since 2001, running an ongoing project worth US $2.8 million, fully funded by Libya. The project has provided training to 85 drug law enforcement officers. Several prevention workshops and seminars have taken place to increase awareness among youth and to train policy makers. Equipment and other type of assistance have been provided to the border control officers, forensic laboratories, and drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centres. UNODC is currently carrying out an assessment of the drug abuse and HIV/AIDS situation in order to develop a national drug demand reduction strategy.

The National Postal and Telecommunication Authority has decided to join forces with UNODC in combating illicit drug trafficking and money laundering. A new specialized technical assistance project amounting to US$1,4 million is being designed to strengthen the national postal control and inspection systems in Libya.

The talks in Tripoli will explore ways to expand this cooperation in the region.

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