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|European Launch of UN Millennium World Drug Report|
|Executive Director Pino Arlacchi Concludes Tour of Capitals|
VIENNA, 25 January (UN Information Service) -- The Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) Pino Arlacchi began a round of high-level meetings in European capitals, to launch the millennium edition of the World Drug Report (WDR), by visiting London on 22 January.
In the British capital, Mr Arlacchi presented the WDR to the media jointly with UK Anti-Drugs Coordinator Keith Hellawell. Mr Hellawell praised the report and ODCCP's achievements in the field of drug control, and expressed appreciation for Mr Arlacchi's leadership and commitment. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, John Battle conveyed his regrets to Mr Arlacchi for not being able to attend, due to pressing constituency business.
Mr Arlacchi will return to London in late March, at the invitation of the British Government, to participate in the "UK Conference on the Global Economy of Illegal Drugs".
In France, where meetings at ministerial level were not scheduled, Mr Arlacchi met with the Director General of National Police, Mr Bergougnoux, and subsequently attended a lunch hosted by the Deputy-Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry, at the Quay d'Orsay. In the course of these meetings, Mr Arlacchi received ample assurances by the French Government that it would continue supporting ODCCP's work and activities and that its yearly contribution to the Programme would be kept at a level higher or at least equal to that for the year 2000.
In Belgium, in the city of Ghent, Mr Arlacchi addressed a Conference on "Strategies of the European Union and the United States to combat Transnational Organized Crime" which was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Belgium Guy, Verhofstadt.
In his address Mr Verhofstadt highly praised the efforts of Mr Arlacchi and ODCCP in shepherding to completion the "United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime". The Convention was signed in Palermo by 124 Member States at a mid-December conference.
During the presentation of the WDR, held on a separate occasion in Brussels, the Government of Belgium reiterated its appreciation to ODCCP and its Executive Director and pledged continued support.
Today Mr Arlacchi will launch the WDR in Milan, jointly with the Minister of Interior, Enzo Bianco, in the course of an event hosted by the mayor of the city Gabriele Albertini and attended by a number of political personalities and the media.
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