3 February 1998

European Union Supports UNDCP Efforts in Afghanistan

VIENNA, 3 February (UN Information Service) -- The European Union (EU) adopted a Common Position on Afghanistan last week supporting the efforts of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in their activities there.

The Common Position states that the EU supports "all consistent efforts, including those of the United Nations Drug Control Programme, aimed at reducing substantially the production, trafficking and abuse of drugs in Afghanistan". It also supports alternative development as an "important component of a balanced and comprehensive drug control strategy".

Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of UNDCP, said that the EU's approval of the Programme's efforts in Afghanistan was very encouraging. "Today Afghanistan supplies more than half of the world's heroin. However, with the recent Taliban agreement to ban opium cultivation, combined with the support of the EU, the United States, and other major donors for alternative development projects in Afghanistan, we have the opportunity to eradicate all illicit poppy cultivation within five to ten years."

The Position, adopted by the EU General Affairs Council on 26 January, reinforced their commitment to fight against illegal drugs and terrorism in Afghanistan. It also urged aid agencies to factor drug control objectives into their projects, stressing that the EU will review drug control objectives when considering contributions to development aid and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

For further information, contact:
Sandro Tucci, Spokesperson for the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention
Ph: (43-1) 21345 5629 Fax: (43-1) 21345 5931
AH: (43-1) 504 80 88