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  Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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Two regional organizations in the former Soviet Union should join efforts to prevent drug trafficking through Russia
Two regional organizations in the former Soviet Union should join efforts to prevent drug trafficking through Russia, a senior Russian official told a Moscow conference Monday. Anatoly Safonov, President Vladimir Putin's envoy on international cooperation in fighting terrorism and organized crime, said drug transit via the country resulted in increasing numbers of drug addicts in society. "The SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] and the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] should create a reliable shield blocking drug distribution both from Afghanistan and precursors in the opposite direction," Safonov said. At a June 15 summit of leaders from SCO member countries - Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan - Uzbek leader Islam Karimov expressed his concern over increased drug production in Afghanistan and said coalition forces in the country were failing to tackle the problem. Speaking on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Safonov said Russia intended to cooperate with all interested countries in countering drug flows from Afghanistan. He said there should be a collective coordinated response to the global drug challenge and added that Russian drug legislation should be brought into line with international laws. The presidential envoy said illicit drug revenues and terrorism financing were directly linked, citing Afghanistan as an example of a country where increasing drug production entailed growing terrorist activity. "Terrorism cannot be eradicated if drug-production infrastructure is not destroyed," Safonov said.
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