6 March 1998

UNDCP Announces New Cooperation Agreement with Asian Countries

VIENNA, 5 March (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Prevention (UNDCP) said today it will assist the countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in their drug control activities in southwestern and central Asia.

Pino Arlacchi, the Director-General of the United Nations in Vienna and Executive Director of the UNDCP, signed an agreement with the Secretary General of ECO, H.E. Mr. Onder Ozar, to provide assistance in the creation of a drug control coordination unit at the ECO Secretariat headquarters in Tehran. The new accord also calls for new training support for drug control experts from all ECO member states and will establish a periodic reporting system on the drug situation in the region. Iran currently holds the presidency of ECO and the Permanent Representative of the Government of Iran to the United Nations in Vienna, H.E. Ambassador Amir Khazi, witnessed the signing agreement.

"This agreement will strongly contribute to the fight against the problem of drugs and drug trafficking in Central Asia," Mr. Arlacchi said. "I am very glad to see this kind of cooperation agreement. It is an essential part of our overall strategy to strengthen drug control all over the world."

ECO is a regional organization which promotes economic, technical and cultural cooperation among its ten member states: the Islamic State of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The ECO region makes up the largest opium, morphine, heroin and cannabis producing and trafficking area in the world and has a population of 320 million people.

"We are ready to support your efforts and this agreement will constitute a concrete step in this direction", Mr. Ozar said. He continued by thanking Mr. Arlacchi and the UNDCP for "the resolute stand of your organization in the fight against drugs".

ECO has had observer status with the United Nations General Assembly since 1993 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UNDCP to promote mutual cooperation in drug control since 1995.

For further information, contact:
Sandro Tucci, Spokesperson for the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
Ph: (43-1) 21345 5629 Fax: (43-1) 21345 5931
Mobile: (43-664) 210 50 28