IMT and BLO Initiatives Demonstrate Their Achievements to the Subcommission on Illicit Drug Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East

25 September 2019, Tashkent, Uzbekistan - During the week of the 54th Session of the Subcommission on Illicit Drug Traffic and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East, participants and international community of Uzbekistan witnessed a ceremony of equipment handover at the premises of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA).

UNODC ROCA handed over the equipment at the amount of nearly 250,000 USD to the Interagency Mobile Teams (IMTs) of Uzbekistan and the Border Liaison Offices (BLO) in Uzbekistan to enhance capacity of the bodies in conducting joint operations to counter trafficking of Afghan narcotics through the territory of the country. Both initiatives are generously funded by the Government of Japan.

"Today there are six IMTs located in Uzbekistan - Tashkent, Gulistan, Ferghana, Termez, Samarkand and Nukus. The Teams bring together the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Security Service, the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan. As a result of the cooperation, over 230 kg of illicit drugs were seized last year.

The BLO regional initiative continues its operations through the 15 BLOs located in Central Asia, including four on the territory of Uzbekistan - at the "Dustlik" Border-Crossing Point (BCP), "Oybek" BCP, "Sariosiyo" BCP and "Ayritom" BCP. In Uzbekistan, the BLOs are operated by the State Customs Committee, Border Troops and the State Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan."- highlighted Mr. Olim Narzullaev, Director of the National Information-Analytical Center on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Initiatives on "Countering trafficking of Afghan narcotics in Uzbekistan through establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams (IMT)" and on "Countering trafficking of opiates from Afghanistan through the Northern Route by strengthening capacities of main border crossing points (BCPs) and border liaison offices (BLOs)" are two important components of the Sub-Programme 1 of UNODC Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019) which are being successfully implemented in Uzbekistan.

"Today we are handing over an equipment for the total value of 248,000 USD. It was procured within both components activities and includes modern and effective equipment used by law enforcement agencies all around the world and we hope that they will find their effective and purposeful usage by IMT and BLO units too. We believe that the outcomes of these activities will contribute to achieving our common goals and missions" - noted Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, during the handover ceremony.

"Japan has been promoting regional cooperation in this regard, in partnership with Central Asian countries and international organizations such as UNODC. With an aim to strengthen such cooperation, we have seconded a Japanese MOFA official to UNODC since 2017. We are determined to contribute to the stability of the region through such efforts." - said Mr. Yoshinori Fujiyama, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Over a hundred guests - the participants of the 54th Session of the Subcommission, Ambassadors of Russian Federation, Japan, Egypt, Kazakhstan, high-level representatives from the international organizations located in Uzbekistan could learn more about the IMT and BLO activities through video clips and the exhibition of the equipment.

Drug trafficking through Central Asia and the Southern Caucuses, including through the Northern route remains a concern due to the persisting high level of opiate production in Afghanistan. Communication, coordination and cooperation between law enforcement agencies are key elements in countering drug trafficking.

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