Kazakhstan Reaffirms Commitment to Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking

Feb 17. MFA

Kazakhstan Reaffirms Commitment to Combating Illicit Drug TraffickingThe Kazakh delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov took part at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners which opened at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on February 16. The Paris Pact partners discussed how best to combat the trafficking of opium and heroin originating in Afghanistan.

The meeting brought together ministers and representatives from more than 55 countries as well as from international organizations and regional partners. The conference participants stressed that drug trafficking has become one of the main factors of instability not only in Afghanistan but also in all countries of the region.

Since the responsibility for dealing with this growing problem lies on the manufacturers, drug users, and transit countries, four fundamentally important aspects of the fighting against opiates originating from Afghanistan were brought forward to the discussion. These include detecting and blocking financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates, preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals used in illicit opiates manufacturing in Afghanistan, reducing drug abuse and dependence through a comprehensive approach, and implementing regional initiatives that can help combat drugs from Afghanistan.

Opening the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for concerted efforts to help Afghanistan extricate itself from the scourge of drug production, use and trafficking, noting that the country’s stability remains at stake with an estimated 15 per cent of its income accruing from trade in illicit drugs.

“We have a common duty to the people of Afghanistan and those everywhere whose lives are darkened with despair due to the menace of the drugs trade,” Ban noted.

Addressing the conference, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov extended gratitude for convening such an important conference and expressed deep concern over drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Central Asia, as it represents a direct threat to the socio-economic development of the countries in the region.

Speaking of the elimination of factors that contribute to Afghan drug trafficking, Umarov stressed that it requires multilateral and coordinated efforts in three main areas: combating opium cultivation and production, suppressing cross-border drug trafficking, and reducing demand for drugs in other countries.

In his speech Umarov underlined that Kazakhstan is an active participant of counter-narcotics actions within organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe as it is essential to have the full cooperation of the international community in combating this evil.

He also highlighted the role of the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center (CARICC), established in Almaty with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as making an important contribution to strengthening control over illicit drug production, drug abuse, and illicit trafficking in narcotics, psychotropic substances, and precursors in Central Asia

“Combating drug trafficking has become a permanent part of state policy for our country. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has identified combating drug crime as one of the nation’s main law enforcement priorities,” Umarov told the conference.

Kazakhstan, the deputy minister said, has prepared a draft of the Programme to Combat Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking for 2012-2016, with the budget totaling US$ 136 million. The previous one, amounting to US$ 260 million, was successfully carried out from 2009 until 2011.

“I would like to point out that no other country in the region has devoted such a large sum to the fight against drug trafficking,” Umarov said.

Following the discussions, the conference participants approved the Joint Vienna Declaration which outlined further actions on combating illicit traffic in opiates, blocking financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates, preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals used in illicit opiates manufacturing in Afghanistan.

The Paris Pact Initiative (PPI) is an international partnership of more than 55 countries and international organizations which agreed at the Ministerial Conference on Drug Routes from Central Asia to Europe held in Paris in 2003 to the principle of common and shared responsibility in the fight against opium and heroin trafficking from Afghanistan. The second Ministerial Conference was held in Moscow in 2006. The Paris Pact Initiative is supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).