Prioritise anti-drugs effort: Ban to Afghanistan
Vienna: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Afghan government to prioritise its efforts to eradicate illicit drugs in the war-torn country, warning "time is not on our side", Xinhua reported.
Addressing the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact held in Vienna on Thursday, Ban said: "Drug trafficking and transnational organised crimes undermine the health of fragile states, weaken the rule of law and hinder our attempts to meet the Millennium Development Goals."
Citing Afghan Opium Survey 2011 released by UN anti-crimes agency, Ban told partners of the Paris Pact that poppy cultivation has increased by 7 percent and opium production has increased by 61 percent in last year.
"We cannot expect stability when 15 percent of Afghanistan`s Gross Domestic Product comes from the drugs trade," Ban said, adding "We cannot speak of sustainable development when opium production is the only viable economic activity in the country."
"Time is not on our side...above all, the Afghan Government must prioritise the issue of narcotics," he said.
Ban also urged "law enforcement agencies to work harder on eradicating crops, eliminating laboratories, keeping precursors from entering the country, and inhibiting drug trafficking."
He warned that there could be no real success without reducing the demand, calling for the international community to stand with Afghanistan in the fight against drugs.
The Paris Pact meeting, meant to review steps taken to reduce production and trafficking of opiates from Afghanistan, drew senior officials from more than 50 countries.
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