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NATO’s defiance of CSTO calls for fighting Afghan drugs hinders coop - Lavrov

September 07, 2011, 20:09 UTC+3
Moscow would like to see NATO’s cooperation with the CSTO especially in combating the drug menace
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MOSCOW, September 7 (Itar-Tass) —— NATO’s defiance of the CSTO proposals for combating the Afghan drug threat fails to contribute to joint work in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Moscow would like to see NATO’s cooperation with the CSTO especially in combating the drug menace.

"The alliance currently operates in Afghanistan, and the CSTO has the appropriate force on the outer Afghan border,” said Lavrov. “Interaction in real time could improve the effectiveness of efforts to intercept the flow of narcotics."

According to the minister, time is being wasted, because NATO for five years has not responded to proposals from the CSTO.

"This does not help the quality of teamwork," the head of the Foreign Ministry said.

Lavrov stressed the importance of the task of combating the drug menace for Russia. "Before you can announce that everything is in order in Afghanistan, you should pay much more attention than now to the eradication of drug crops," he stressed. "We do not understand why, but in the very same Colombia our American partners think it is absolutely necessary to include the destruction of coca crops in the strategy to combat the drug menace,” he said. “But in Afghanistan they doubt that this will be correct. I do not see any difference."

About topic of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan Lavrov said that Russia expected the UN Security Council would provide relevant information. "With regard to the planned withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, they are there under the mandate of the UN Security Council,” said the minister. “As a minimum, we expect the UN Security Council will be informed about these plans and about the criteria on which it is concluded that NATO troops’ presence in Afghanistan is no longer necessary." Moscow, he said, "completely agrees that this presence can only be temporary."

"We wanted to see to what extent the Afghan forces and the army are really ready to assume the responsibility for maintaining order in their country."

Speaking about the future of the republic in connection with plans for the withdrawal of NATO forces, Lavrov said that Moscow believed that "the withdrawal of troops must be well-timed."

"The pullout should not be accompanied by continued military presence in a new disguise,” he explained. “Such plans do exist, we know about them, and we have been discussing them with the United States."

"We cannot afford to have a situation of non-transparency there," said Lavrov.

Russia, he recalled, "is actively cooperating with partners in NATO in order to help improve the ability of the Afghans themselves to ensure their security."

The minister mentioned the launch of the "helicopter project" that will help better service the helicopters that are in service in the Afghan army, and to supply them with spare parts.

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