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The 3-day International Drug Enforcement Conference of the law enforcement agencies, which are engaged in the struggle against drug trafficking, opened in Moscow. One of the main items of the agenda is how the situation with the drug trafficking will develop after the withdrawal of the troops of the United States and NATO from Afghanistan. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the conference.
The world community is concerned over the drug threat, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported. According to Executive Director of the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime Yuri Fedotov, 27 million people abuse drugs in the world and 200,000 people died annually of drugs. Each fourth drug addict is a Russian citizen. The drugs are mainly trafficked in Russia from Afghanistan. How to counteract to this situation after the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan? This is the main item of the agenda of the 3-day International Drug Enforcement Conference, which opened in Moscow on Wednesday. This is the largest world anti-drug forum that is convened every year already for the 13th time. The chiefs of the anti-drug agencies from more than 120 countries are participating in the forum.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the conference, finding the drug threat as one of the most “problematic challenges to the world community, the breeding ground for terrorism” and is confident that all countries should pool their efforts in the struggle against this evil. Putin voiced concerns that the area of opium poppy crops went up 18% in Afghanistan in the last few years. The law enforcement agencies succeed to intercept only 40% of all opiates coming from Afghanistan in Russia and other countries.
Vladimir Putin noted that Afghanistan lacks its resources in the struggle against drug business, and the contingent of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will be withdrawn from the country. “The consequences of this step can be very regretful, if not tragic,” the president warned. In this respect, he confirmed that Russia is ready to take further practical steps to eliminate the drug threat, particularly with the countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the European Union and other countries. Meanwhile, he finds it important to liquidate the financial base, which funds the drug mafia.
The newspaper cited CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying at a press conference that special operations should be organized and carried out in the countries bordering Afghanistan to combat the drug threat coming from Central Asia. For this purpose a special centre of anti-drug operations is planned to create in the CSTO states.
Russia is concerned over the measures to legalize the so-called ‘light’ drugs, which several European countries are taking, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily cited Vladimir Putin as saying. “It is important to preserve the norms and regimes, which are based on three basic U.N. conventions, and Russia supports the U.N. central coordinating role in the struggle against this evil. Its role is very high, nothing can replace this organization,” Putin noted. He also voiced a quite ambitious international task to attain the shrinking of the production of the most dangerous drugs, including heroin and cocaine by 2019.
According to chief of the Russian financial intelligence, president of the Eurasian group against the legalization of criminal incomes Yuri Chikhanchin, massive monetary funds, which were acquired from the sale of drugs, were injected in the banking sector during the world economic crisis in 2008-2009, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. “On the one hand, they stabilized, but at the same time they criminalized the banks,” Chikhanchin stated. Chief of the Russian drug watchdog Viktor Ivanov recalled that the Bank of America and American Express in particular are suspected of money laundering, but he did not name Russian financial institutions, which committed similar offences, in his report. Chikhanchin noted that two large-scale schemes over the laundering of the monetary funds, which were acquired from the sale of drugs, through bank accounts and payment systems, were exposed in Russia.