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Drug Trafficking

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Spanish counterpart on combating South American international crime, particularly within the EU; and if he will make a statement. [111564]

We are in regular touch with Spain and other EU partners to co-ordinate efforts on combating international crime from South America, and in particular on the threat from Class A drugs. UK officials play an active role in developing implementation strategies for the EUs Action Plan on drugs. We are also active in the Technical Committee of the EU-Latin American-Caribbean Drugs Co-ordination and Co-operation Mechanism, which is engaged in strengthening inter-regional ties.HM Customs and Excise work closely on joint investigations and operations with their Spanish counterparts, and regularly share intelligence through NCIS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment has been made of the success of the international war on drugs; and if he will make a statement. [111565]

In April, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs concluded that since the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Drugs in 1998 there had been mixed success in combating illegal narcotics. Many countries have put in place or strengthened measures to reduce demand for illicit drugs and to provide treatment for those affected. Improvements have also been made in national and international co-operation on supply reduction and law enforcement. But serious problems remain. The UK will continue to devote effort and resources to tackling the drugs problem at home and internationally, particularly in Afghanistan, where the creation of alternative economic activities is vital to the success of the fight against the international drug problem and to the stability of the region.