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|U.S. Congressmen Call for Expanded United Nations Role In Andean Region|
VIENNA, 19 September (UN Information Service) - A bipartisan group of 22 U.S. Congressmen have written to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressing support for an increase in funding to the United Nations International Drug Control Programme's (UNDCP) efforts in the Andean region. "UNDCP's record in the field is an impressive one" stated the Congressmen in their letter".
Sixteen Democrats and 6 Republicans, including the Chairmen of the House International Affairs, Intelligence and Banking Committees and prominent Democrats from the International Affairs, Judiciary and Appropriations Committees, signed the letter. They urged that $60 million over the next two years be provided to UNDCP as part of the recently passed $1.37 billion U.S. aid package, "Plan Colombia."
"The dedicated support from Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress once again confirms UNDCP's important role in drug control in the Andean region," said Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of UNDCP. "The success of 'Plan Colombia' depends on a speedy and effective delivery of comprehensive alternative economic development aid to farmers who have been growing illicit drugs. Increased law enforcement and eradication efforts alone will not eliminate the root causes of illicit cultivation in the Andes."
The 22 Congressmen assured Secretary Albright that any funding entrusted to UNDCP would complement U.S. bilateral work in each country. In particular, the letter requested that six UNDCP programmes be fully funded as soon as possible:
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