Special Meeting of the 597th Permanent Council
EU Statement in Response to the Minister of Counter-Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. H. Qaderi
- The European Union is pleased to welcome the Minister of Counter-Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. H. Qaderi, to the Special Permanent Council and thanks him for his speech concerning Afghanistan’s struggle in the field of counter-narcotics, as well as his thoughtful and interesting remarks on the work carried out between the OSCE and Afghanistan within the framework of the OSCE partnership for co-operation process.
- The EU has regularly reaffirmed its clear commitment to the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan and will continue to support the country’s efforts to establish a pluralist and stable democracy. The EU is strongly committed to support Afghanistan’s institution building processes, including efforts aimed at strengthening the rule of law, public administration, the police and judicial system. The EU will directly support PRT (Province Reconstruction Team) civilian activities led by EU Member States.
- In this regard, we recognize the scale and complexity of the problem and the threat that drugs pose to the broader reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. The levels of cultivation and production of opium poppy in Afghanistan continue to be of great concern to the European Union. Nonetheless the European Union welcomes the progress made to date on counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, notably the decrease in the area of opium poppy cultivation in 2005, the introduction of vital counter narcotics legislation; and the development of Afghan counter narcotics institutions and law enforcement agencies. As set out in the EU-Afghanistan Joint Declaration – Committing to a new EU-Afghan Partnership, counter-narcotics work will continue to be a key pillar of activity in the EU-Afghanistan relationship. The European Union welcomes the “Afghanistan Compact”, agreed between Afghanistan and the international community and adopted and launched during the London Conference. The Compact sets clearly defined time- bound goals for the further development of Afghanistan and sets the frame for co-operation between Afghanistan and the international community, including in the area of counter-narcotics. The EU also welcomes the interim Afghan National Development Strategy. The European Union and its Member States have been primary donors in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development and intend to remain strongly committed during the next phase.
- We also appreciate the Government of Afghanistan’s updated National Drug Control Strategy and encourage the international community to support its implementation, including by contributing to the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund. Only by focusing activity on the four priorities set out in the strategy – targeting drug traffickers; strengthening legal rural livelihoods; reducing domestic demand; and strengthening institutions – will the goal of sustainable reduction in drug cultivation and trafficking be achieved. The EU moreover advocates the integration of well targeted alternative development interventions into wider economic reconstruction efforts.
- The European Union would additionally like to express its full appreciation for the role the OSCE has played in close cooperation with the UNODC in enabling Afghan participation in the OSCE border management activities in Central Asia in support of the Government of Afghanistan’s counter narcotics. In this regard we support what has been described as the “power of partnership” between the two organizations, the pursuit of an integrated approach to drugs and crime issues, placing them in the context of sustainable development, balancing prevention and enforcement activities, selecting operations on the basic knowledge and strategic vision, and finally, assisting in the establishment of institutions that promote international best practice. This common vision has brought both organizations in together coordinating and cooperating actively in the field of counter-narcotics.
- The EU shares the overall concern of the OSCE that trafficking in illicit drugs pose a threat to stability and security, both inside and outside the OSCE area. We therefore recall the Decision on Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs adopted during the Ministerial Council of Ljubljana.
- The EU remains committed to the development of the co-operation between the OSCE and Afghanistan within the framework of the OSCE partnership.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process