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Russia disappointed with NATO reaction to the Afghan drug threat – Churkin

March 20, 2013, 0:41 UTC+3

The thriving drug business is “a threat to international peace and security”, Churkin said

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UNITED NATIONS, March 20 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Tuesday that Russia was disappointed with the weak reaction of NATO and the United Nations to the growing drug threat coming from Afghanistan.

The thriving drug business is “a threat to international peace and security”, Churkin said at the open U.N. Security Council debate on Afghanistan on Tuesday.

“We are disappointed that NATO has not responded to the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) to cooperate in this sphere while the ISAF is reluctant to get involved into the anti-drug activities,” Churkin said.

Churkin stressed the need to destroy all opium popper crops and laboratories that process them in Afghanistan. He added that not only national Afghan services but also the offices of international organizations stationed in Afghanistan should be actively involved in that work.

The mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) that has been operating in the country since 2002 sets force clearer tasks in combating the drug threat.

The United Nations Security Council has passed resolution 2096 that extends the UNAMA mission in Afghanistan for another year. A number of Security Council delegations, including Russia, wish that the resolution contained a tougher wording related to Kabul’s insufficient efforts to curb the thriving drug business.

Vitaly Churkin also said that Russia was concerned with the general security situation in Afghanistan, especially with the ongoing spread of terrorism into the neighboring states of Central Asia that are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the CIS, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said at the open U.N. Security Council debates on Afghanistan on Tuesday.

“We are particularly concerned with the ongoing spread of terrorist activities from the northern provinces of the Islamist Republic of Afghanistan into adjacent Central Asian countries, which are our CSTO allies and CIS partners,” Churkin, who’s presiding over the Security Council in March, stressed.

The Russian diplomat said that the current situation in Afghanistan was arousing concerns for the future of the country and the whole region.

“Terrorism, extremism and drug-related crimes have not been eradicated in the territory of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. There has been no breakthrough in the armed struggle against the Taliban regime. Many Afghan provinces are fully or partly under its control,” the ambassador said.

Churkin expressed the hope that Kabul’s dialogue with the armed opposition, including the Taliban and some other groups, would produce some positive results. At the same time, he warned that the effect would be positive only if the militants observed the basic principles of reconciliation, which is to put down arms, recognize the Afghan constitution and ultimately sever all links with Al-Quaeda and other terrorist organizations.

Churkin said that NATO and ISAF were speeding up the transfer of security responsibilities to the national armed forces without taking account of the real situation in regions and the state of training and combat effectiveness of the Afghan national security units.

The Russian diplomat said he was puzzled by NATO plans to hand over control over the most problematic regions to the government in Kabul already this summer.

Churkin pledged further Russian assistance to Afghanistan in strengthening the military efficiency of its national security forces. Russia sent another shipment of weapons and ammunition to the Afghan police on a free-of-charge basis late in 2012.

Churkin also said that NATO should withdraw its military units from Afghanistan according to schedule.





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