UNODC chief, Lithuanian President discuss efforts to stabilise Afghanistan

VIENNA, 8 March 2007 (UNODC) - The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, discussed efforts to stabilise Afghanistan in a meeting with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus on Thursday.

Drug control in the Baltic region and the fight against human trafficking and organised crime were also on the agenda.

President Adamkus said he would like UNODC to work more closely with Lithuania in Afghanistan, especially in the fields of good governance and criminal justice.

Mr Costa complimented Lithuania for its work in the western Afghan province of Ghor, where it heads the Provincial Reconstruction Team.

"Ghor is one of the provinces where we expect opium cultivation to fall this year," the UNODC Executive Director said.

"Given its central geographical location, the province will be critically important to our efforts to create an opium-free belt across the centre of the country and reclaim Afghanistan from the drug lords, province by province. Lithuania's work to rebuild security in Ghor is vitally important."  

President Adamkus said UNODC was an important partner for Lithuania. "We welcome UNODC's assistance in helping to stem the flow of illicit drugs through the Baltic region, especially of amphetamine-type stimulants which are a growing problem for the whole of northern Europe," he said.

The President added that UNODC's experience in combating organised crime could complement the efforts of law enforcement authorities in the Baltic Sea region to improve international cooperation in this field.