Vienna/Dushanbe. 31 May 2012. With 90 per cent of the world's illicit opiates being produced in Afghanistan, the neighbouring frontline states in Central Asia have a key role to play in tackling drug trafficking. As part of his Office's efforts to ensure cooperative solutions to meeting these challenges, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), today met the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr. Emomalii Rahmon, in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe to discuss national and regional efforts to address drug trafficking.
As part of a wider visit to Central Asia, which includes meetings in Afghanistan, the UN's anti-drugs and crime chief attended the Ministerial Meeting of the UNODC-supported 'AKT Tripartite Initiative', which brings together the leading authorities in drug control from Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and which represents a further positive step in coordinating regional responses to an issue that defies national borders.
In his meeting with President Rahmon, Mr. Fedotov spoke of the "excellent cooperation" between UNODC and the Tajik authorities in efforts to build peace and stability in the region. Ongoing collaboration was also discussed; since 2000, UNODC has been working with Tajikistan in support of the country's Drug Control Agency and to strengthen controls along the Tajik/Afghan border through the provision of expertise, resources, equipment and training. At a regional level, Tajikistan is a partner in UNODC's Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, which works to promote counter-narcotics cooperation in legal, health-related and law enforcement areas in West and Central Asia.
Stressing the importance of multi-country coordination, Mr. Fedotov noted after his meeting with President Rahmon that, "stopping the operations of the criminal groups responsible for this illicit trafficking is critical. We must sever the financial arteries associated with trafficking which fuels other criminal activities, including, in some instances, terrorist activities and insurgencies".
During the AKT Tripartite Initiative meeting, the three Ministers noted that rising opium production is presenting additional security challenges for the region. In a bid to tackle this, the countries are working to mount joint counter-trafficking operations along the borders of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Speaking at this meeting, Mr. Fedotov praised the AKT Tripartite Initiative as a means not only to discuss common issues, but to streamline operations and stimulate regional coordination.
Building on other ongoing initiatives for cooperation, the meeting's participants also confirmed their intention to work closely with the UNODC-supported Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC), of which Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are already members. This partnership aims to build further cooperation in counter-narcotics between national and regional law enforcement agencies, and would complement other groupings such as the Triangular Initiative which is the collaborative effort between the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
For further information please contact:
Christer Brannerud, Project Coordinator
UNODC Programme Office in Tajikistan
Tel.: +992-37 227-0372 | Mobile: +992-918 72-2373
Preeta Bannerjee, Public Information Officer
Tel: (+43-699) 1459-5764 | Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5764