Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the States Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding on Sub-Regional Drug Control Cooperation, Tashkent, May 3, 2019
First of all, I would like to greet my colleagues – foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers – of countries participating in the Eleventh Ministerial Meeting of the States Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding on Sub-Regional Drug Control Cooperation as well as our friends from the UN.
Building up joint efforts is particularly important today, when challenges to security are multiplying, including the narco-terrorism threat coming from Afghanistan and elsewhere. To successfully stamp it out, it is necessary to further close ranks in the name of peace and stability in the vast Eurasian space.
It is gratifying that in the period since 1996, the parties to the Memorandum have managed to consistently translate their declared intentions into concrete deeds. The Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating the Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC) is functioning confidently. The Centre both symbolises our common striving to vigorously combat Afghan heroin expansion and plays an important practical role in opposing the narco-aggression. The significance of the concrete results of its activities was noted in a special statement issued by the participants in the 61st Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. CARICC is actively involved in the operations of related multilateral platforms and its estimates are regularly shared with counter-terrorism committees operating under the aegis of the UN Security Council, facilitating coordination of relevant resolutions and recommendations.
Last December, the CARICC Development Strategy for 2018-2022 was approved and its implementation calls for building up collective efforts. It is important in this connection to maintain the high level of the Centre’s interaction with the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. We welcome the Protocol on Cooperation in the Interests of Counteracting the Financing of Terrorism from Profits of Drug Trafficking signed between these two structures last June. I am confident that the potential of CARICC can expand considerably based on more robust cooperation with other important regional structures, primarily the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which is effectively implementing projects to fight terrorism and drug trafficking.
CARICC’s involvement in the Channel Centre international anti-drug operation, held with much success in Kazakhstan in late February with the participation of representatives of many states, received high praise. Based on CARICC, an International Staff provided for the cohesion of efforts to curtail the transit of Afghan opiates by the Northern Route and to eliminate sources and sales networks of cannabis drugs.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) remains CARICC’s closest partner in fighting the drug threat. We hope that it will continue to actively back related projects in Central Asia.
Bolstering Central Asian partners’ anti-drug capacity is a priority in the context of Russia’s donor contribution to UNDOC programmes. We are helping to train drug police for Central Asia at educational establishments run by the Russian Ministry of the Interior. We are rendering material and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies of the member countries both through the UN and bilateral channels.
We reaffirm our interest in promoting the Paris Pact initiative that combines the efforts of many states and international organisations. We regard it as a unique mechanism for containing drug flows from Afghanistan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite the obvious successes achieved, much is yet to be done. We believe the most pressing task in the short term is to ramp up regular information sharing between the relevant authorities in Central Asian countries and their partners on active members of transnational groups implicated in drug trafficking.
Disrupting the activities of drug groups engaged in laundering illicit funds is another important area of practical cooperation. This is particularly urgent in the context of efforts to eliminate the financial sustenance drug profits provide to terrorism.
Thanks to our joint action in a number of areas, we are managing to evolve approaches to dealing with some difficult problems on the global anti-drug agenda. Specifically, we have managed to jointly prevent the slackening of the international control system operating under the aegis of the UN. This is of particular importance against the background of increasingly loud calls coming from certain countries to legalise so-called “soft drugs” and to radically revise international anti-drug conventions. Along with the majority of UN member states, we are convinced of the need to most strictly observe these conventions in their entirety.
Russia is firmly committed to a world without drugs. We reaffirmed our position of principle in this regard during the 62nd Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We are thankful to our Memorandum partners for their concerted work at the session, including the effort to coordinate its important final declaration.
Eradicating the evil of drugs and related human suffering will make an important contribution to freedom of personality and protection of human dignity. I am confident that the results of today’s meeting will facilitate this in every way.
In conclusion, I would like to join the expressions of gratitude to our Uzbek hosts for their hospitality and excellent organisation of our meeting.