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  Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Regional security organizations could make a significant contribution to combating
Regional security organizations could make a significant contribution to combating the inflow of drugs from Afghanistan and ensuring regional security, Russia's foreign minister said on Monday.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, while the SCO also includes most CSTO countries and China, apart from Armenia and Belarus, with Mongolia, India, Iran and Pakistan having SCO observer status.

"For the [anti-drug] action to be effective, it is necessary not only to support the efforts of the Afghan authorities to bring the situation in the country under control, but also to support the efforts of international security forces which should actively boost their fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, at the same time promoting cooperation with all of Afghanistan's neighbors," Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Dadfar Spanta.

According to the UN, Afghanistan supplies around 90% of the world's opium used to make heroin, and the country produces $4 billion worth of heroin each year.

Lavrov also said both organizations are introducing specific drug control programs to help deal with the ever-growing threat.

Lavrov said the two parties had discussed the possibility of using both UN agencies, which need to play a central role, as well as regional organizations such as the SCO and the CSTO.

Spanta said development of bilateral relations with Russia and regional organizations, in particular, the SCO, is a priority for Afghanistan's foreign policy. SCO and CSTO countries have previously discussed the need to give Afghanistan observer status.

He said negotiations in Moscow "have become a new step in the development of bilateral ties and a new stage in cooperation between Russia and Afghanistan."


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