UN to Closely Cooperate with Kazakhstan to Prevent Drug Smuggling From Afghanistan

The UN intends to "intensify its efforts" together with Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries in order to prevent drug smuggling from Afghanistan, said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Astana on Friday. "It's necessary to work with the source in Afghanistan, which this year saw an unprecedented harvest" of opium poppy, he pointed out. Afghanistan's new government together with the world community must take part in solving the problem of drug spreading, the Secretary General believes. The International community should assist Afghanistan so that its citizens may plant other agriculture crops, he added.

The struggle against drugs was a priority at the Thursday meeting between Kofi Annan and Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan's leader expressed his anxiety about the growing illegal drug trade in Central Asia. Astana believes Afghanistan to be the main source of drugs. In his conversation with Kofi Annan, Nazarbayev spoke for working out a UN programme to systematically counteract drug business in Central Asia.

The UN Secretary General has arrived in Kazakhstan with the first official visit within the framework of his tour in Central Asia.

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