The presentation of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Annual Opium Survey 2003 in the context of the Illicit Crop Monitoring Program will be held in Moscow on October 29. Russian Federation Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and UN Deputy Secretary-General, Executive Director of the UNODC Antonio Maria Costa are scheduled to participate in the event, Russian Foreign Ministry official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti Saturday.
The event will be conducted in the context of the Russian initiative on the development and implementation, under the UN aegis, of the international strategy of complex prevention of the narcotics threat coming from Afghanistan, he stressed.
Yakovenko recalled that since the second half of the 1990s, Afghanistan has become the world's largest producer of illegal opium. Despite the ongoing counter-terrorist operation, narcotics production in that country continues to grow. "If last year Afghanistan produced 340 tons of opium in its heroin equivalent, this year it produced not less than 360 tons," he noted.
"The elimination of the threat posed by illicit trafficking of Afghan-produced drugs demands a consolidated effort on the part of the entire world community," Alexander Yakovenko concluded.