Russia is very much concerned with the drug trafficking problem, which escalated in 2002.
Despite the measures taken in Afghanistan, this year the opium harvest in this country was 18 times higher than in 2001 and in heroin equivalent totalled 320-325 metric tons, Russian Foreign Deputy Minister, co-chairman of the Joint Russo-Chinese Working Group on Fight against Terrorism Anatoly Safonov disclosed to a RIA Novosti correspondent.
This situation directly affects Russia and China, as well as the other countries of the Central Asian region, Safonov said. The drugs are being delivered to Europe via Tajikistan, Russia or across the south route, but part of this "harvest" stays in Russia and poses a serious threat, the Russian diplomat said.
In the course of the third session of the Russo-Chinese Working Group on the Fight against Terrorism most of the attention was paid to issues concerning the fight against the international drugs business and drug trafficking, including from Afghanistan, Safonov said.
A tendency has lately emerged "of mutual penetration in the organised crime, in particular in drug trafficking and terrorism, and it triggers the new threats and challenges," the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister remarked. Under the present circumstances international terrorism and drugs syndicates are closely connected by financial means, weapons and organisational structures, the Russian Diplomat said.
Therefore, Russia combines these two threats into one, Safonov stressed. "We understand that they differ in many ways, but when international terrorism and drugs business join together, they form a blasting mixture", the Deputy Foreign minister disclosed to a RIA Novosti correspondent. According to him, "Russia tracks all tendencies in the given direction and works out measures of combating this evil".
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now