Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a joint SCO-UNODC meeting on drug trafficking, Vienna, March 14, 2019
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for inviting me to this meeting and, in general, for making it happen.
We note with satisfaction that the dialogue between the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is sustainable. A joint group of experts started working as part of the Paris Pact initiative in the interest of more effectively combatting Afghan drug trafficking at the SCO site in Beijing in November 2018. We consider this the first important practical step and support expanding the areas of cooperation.
The Organisation’s Anti-Drug Strategy and Action Programme were adopted at the SCO summit in Qingdao in June 2018, giving the SCO a reliable international legal toolkit to counter the drug challenge, primarily in light of the continuing plight in Afghanistan. At the SCO summit, President Putin stressed that "it is important to jointly combat the terrorist threat coming from Afghanistan and to stop the production and transit of drugs." Russia is convinced that the destruction of the Afghan narco-terrorist alliance and its foreign accomplices will help strengthen security and stability throughout Eurasia.
I would also like to note that we consider the drug and terrorist threats as inseparable in accordance with the basic documents of the international community. In this regard, I would like to draw attention once again to President Putin’s initiative to expand the powers and scope of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure and ultimately turn it into a comprehensive mechanism for countering new challenges and threats. As a first step, we proposed creating a working group within this regional antiterrorist entity to curb the fueling of terrorism through drug-related crime.
Today, at a meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, many have already mentioned that the attempts of a number of states to rewrite the provisions of international anti-drug law and thus “open the floodgates” for legalising narcotic substances are alarming. We will strongly and consistently oppose such "experiments." We will continue to defend the inviolability of the three fundamental UN anti-drug conventions. Russia is submitting to the 62nd session of the CND a draft resolution in support of the activities of the International Narcotics Control Board which, I hope, will receive broad support from our partners, including in the SCO.
During the current session of the Commission, a special joint statement of the SCO member states will be circulated which will outline a collective position in favour of an uncompromising fight against the global drug challenge.
In the context of the emerging new narcotic threats, there is a demand for qualitatively improving international mechanisms, enhancing their efficiency, and bolstering their personnel, including at the national level. Russia is actively working in this area as it carries out jointly with Japan, under the auspices of the UNODC, a project to train highly qualified personnel for our partners from Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan at the educational institutions of the Interior Ministry of Russia. This is a real contribution to the strengthening of the anti-drug interaction within the SCO space.
I’m positive that deeper cooperation between the SCO and the UNODC will make a useful contribution to achieving our common strategic goal which is building a drug-free world. Overcoming this scourge is fully consistent with the values of the UN and the Shanghai spirit of cooperation.
In closing, I would like to once again emphasise our support for the UNODC headed by UN Under-Secretary-General Yury Fedotov and to express gratitude to the SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov for the continued and close attention which he, as the head of the Organisation, pays to anti-drug and anti-terrorism tasks.