UN official warns persistent Afghanistan opium growing could destabilize region.

Underscoring the far-reaching consequences of opium cultivation in Afghanistan, the top United Nations official on drugs and crime today warned Presidents of the former Soviet States that the resulting "trilogy of problems" could destabilize the whole region.

Addressing the 12 member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Yalta, Ukraine, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said Drug trafficking from Afghanistan presents a host of problems from drug addiction and HIV/AIDS epidemics to the use of resources generated through opium trafficking by organized crime and even terrorist groups.

"The situation with the opium cultivation in Afghanistan remains difficult, and this year, we again face a sizeable harvest," he said.

The CIS region is one of the priority areas of UNODC activities, Mr. Costa noted. The Office is undertaking a range of measures in countering the drug threat, assisting CIS countries in implementing their counter-narcotic programmes, and developing new initiatives against drug-related crime in the region.

[Source: UN News Service, NY, 19Sep03]

War in Iraq and Glabal State of exception

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