Mideast/Drugs control – ODCCP Press release



(Reissued as received.)

  VIENNA,  8  July  (UN Information  Service)  —  Israeli  and  Palestinian

leaders  have agreed  in separate  talks with  Under-Secretary-General  Pino

Arlacchi, Executive  Director  of the  Office  for  Drug Control  and  Crime

Prevention  (ODCCP),  that cooperating  to  fight  drug abuse  and organized

crime would significantly contribute to the peace process.

  During the first leg of his official visit to the Middle East, from 4 to

7 July,  Mr. Arlacchi  met initially  with Israeli  President Ezer  Weizman,

Israeli Foreign Affairs  Minister David Levy,  Shimon Peres,  Israel's newly

appointed Minister  for Regional  Cooperation, and  subsequently with  Yasser

Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority,  as well as senior  officials

of the Palestinian Authority.

  Officials from both parties agreed that  transnational crime and the  drug

problem  can  only  be tackled  at  the regional  level,  with successes  in

combating these  problems  by  both  Israel and  the  Palestinian  Authority

leading to progress and stability in the entire Middle East.

  "Drug trafficking  and crime are  problems that know  no boundaries.   We,

therefore, have to work  together in the Middle East to counter this  threat

to  the welfare of  our societies", Mr. Arlacchi said  in a meeting with Mr.

Arafat on 7 July.

  During his meetings with officials from the Palestinian Authority,

Mr.  Arlacchi  expressed  strong  support  for  its  efforts  to  set  up  a

functioning drug control system.  The recently established  Interministerial

Committee  on   Drug  Control  testified  to   the  "determination  of   the

Palestinian leadership in this regard", he said.

  He pledged to substantially increase ODCCP assistance to the Palestinian

Authority to  combat drugs  and crime  in the  area.   Through a  three-year

project,  the ODCCP is  currently providing  equipment and  training for the

Palestinian  drug police,  setting up  drug-abuse prevention  and  treatment

centres and helping the Palestinian Authority draft and harmonize drug control laws.

  In  his  meetings  with  Israeli  officials,  Mr.  Arlacchi  praised   the

country's successes  in fighting  crime and illicit drugs,  and particularly

welcomed its efforts  to reduce  drug  abuse among  youth.   He  discussed the  need  for

regional  cooperation in  combating illicit  drugs  and organized  crime  at

length with Mr. Peres.

  Israel's Attorney-General, Elyakim Rubinstein, and other top officials  of

the  Justice Ministry reviewed  with Mr.  Arlacchi the  country's efforts in

combating money laundering.  The Israeli authorities said  they had set up a

task force  and were  preparing a  bill —  which  could be  adopted in  the

autumn session of Israeli Parliament — to tackle this problem.

  While  in  Israel,  the  ODCCP  Executive   Director  also  spoke  to  the

International  Conference  on   Migration,  Culture  and  Crime  in   Ma'ale

Hahamisha about illegal  migrant smuggling.  "Bad governance and  repression

push migration.   The international community still  lacks a system to  deal

with these problems.   This lack has created a large and profitable  illegal

market for the smuggling of migrants", he noted.

  On 8  July, Mr. Arlacchi left  for Jordan, Lebanon  and Egypt to  continue

his discussions with top officials in the region.  He is  expected to return

to Vienna on 14 July.

* *** *

Document symbol: SOC/NAR/807
Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP)
Subject: Social issues
Publication Date: 08/07/1999
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