Press Releases

    UNIS/NAR/762
    16 September 2002

    UNITED NATIONS DRUG CONTROL, CRIME PREVENTION CHIEF
    FINDS "COMMON GROUND" WITH BELGIAN,
    EUROPEAN PARTNERS

    VIENNA, 16 September (UN Information Service) -- Beginning his three-day visit to Belgium and to the Brussels-based European institutions, Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), said the focus of his talks with Belgian and European counterparts is the UN’s role in and contribution to the global fight against drugs and crime, including terrorism.

    "We see a lot of common ground in addressing those issues. It is of crucial importance to identify areas of common concern, such as drug-related crime and trafficking in human beings, as well as economic and financial crime. There are ample prospects for partnership and joint initiatives," Mr. Costa said.

    In his meetings in Brussels, he will discuss the ODCCP’s contribution to European efforts against trafficking in illicit drugs, as well as other forms of transnational organized crime. Mr. Costa will inform his Belgian and European counterparts about the ongoing ODCCP activities in Afghanistan, aimed at helping the Afghanistan Transitional Authority to establish drug control and crime prevention institutions. They will discuss ODCCP’s work with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries which helps build their capacity to monitor and prevent illicit drug trafficking in the region.

    "This is one important area of common concern. Europe is the main destination for illicit drugs, with 90 percent of all heroin found in Europe originating from Afghanistan," Mr. Costa said.

    During his visit to Brussels Mr. Costa will meet the Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, Minister of Justice, Marc Verwilghen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annemie Neyts, Secretary of State for Cooperation and Development, Eddy Boutmans, as well as the European Commission’s Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, Antonio Vitorino, and Director-General of External Relations, Guy Legras. He will also meet the Director-General of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office, Giorgio Bonacci, and other EuropeAid senior representatives.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Costa will deliver a speech at the Conference on trafficking in human beings, co-organized by the European Union and the International Organization for Migration.

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