BEIJING, Apr 3- Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Monday vowed to strengthen cooperation in drug control with relation to Afghanistan, so as to guarantee regional security, stability and development.
According to the third meeting of officials of the SCO member states’ drug control departments, poppy planting and the production volume of opium in Afghanistan is still very high, and as a result, drug smuggling has become rampant.
The SCO, founded in Shanghai in 2001, comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are SCO observers while Belarus and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.
“The drug problem has been linked with terrorist groups and organized crime, which constitutes a serious threat to regional security and stability, economic and social development, social order in various countries and everyday life,” said a statement released after the meeting on Monday morning.
China’s National Narcotics Control Commission Deputy Director and Vice Minister of Public Security Zhang Xinfeng attended the meeting, along with drug control officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Member states agreed that as the region’s most influential international organization, the SCO should urgently play a more positive anti-drug role, and enhance healthy lifestyle education for young people.
The SCO should also coordinate anti-drug forces from various member states to strengthen the joint attack on drug crimes and management of precursor chemicals. Implementation of these measures should “effectively reduce drug supply in member states.”
They also discussed the international and regional drug situation, further improvement of the anti-drug cooperation mechanism and implementation of the SCO drug control strategy (2011-2016).
Member states agreed to hold the next meeting in Kyrgyzstan next year.
The press release after the meeting also briefed the progress of China’s previous cooperation with other SCO members.
It noted that China had offered drug control training for 141 personnel of SCO members and stopped a considerable number of drug crimes in bordering regions, including the smuggling of Afghanistan-produced heroin.
Under the SCO anti-drug framework, Chinese police cooperated with Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee and seized 17 foreign suspects who were involved in drug-related activities in China by taking transnational “controlled-delivery” between November 2008 and August 2010, said the document.
On Monday afternoon, Meng Jianzhu, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security, met the delegation heads to the meeting and stressed that SCO was a crucial supporting platform in the handling of regional anti-drug issues.
Meng called on the member states to jointly response to drug-related crimes and other security threats with enhanced cooperation. (Xinhua)