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UAE makes major strides in fighting narcotics: UAE official

posted on 24/11/2004: 1172 views

The UAE and the United Nations signed an agreement in Abu Dhabi yesterday on bilateral cooperation on drugs trafficking and drug-related crimes. According to the agreement, the UN will set up a sub-office on Drugs and Crime in the UAE, which has undertaken bear the estimated US$3 million cost of establishing the office. The sub-office will operate under the Cairo-based UN regional Office on Drugs and Crime. The UAE Ministry of Interior also paid an additional 50,000 US dollars as a contribution to the UN anti-narcotics programme.

The establishment of the sub-office in the UAE comes as recognition of the country's efforts to combat drugs. "Although the UAE is used by traffickers as a route to other destinations, its aggressive policy to combat the menace of drug tracking has received international commendations, thanks to the directives of Major General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior.” said Major General Saif Abdullah Al Shafaar, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Security Affairs.

Speaking to a press meet shortly after signing the agreement, Shafaar said the opening of the sub-office would bolster the anti-narcotic efforts of the UAE and indeed those of the GCC states and the region at large. The office will back up national and regional efforts by providing consultancy services, training, and information sharing. It will coordinate national anti-drugs strategies and integrate those strategies into the comprehensive global programme.

The office will also be tasked with coordinating anti-drugs efforts amongst the country's institutions. The sub-bureau will further oversee the awareness drive in the country in conjunction with relevant authorities.

Shafaar said most of the UAE programmes are consistent with the global UN programme. In the area of rehabilitation for example, the UAE has set up a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts to return to normalcy. The UAE legislation, he said, still provides a room for addicts to restart new life styles if they quit the habit.

He said the UAE anti-drugs strategy is two-fold. Firstly, it seeks to reduce or curtail the supply of drugs and secondly it seeks to reduce the demand. On the efforts to rein in the supply of drugs, Shafaar said the UAE succeeded to handle some 4774 drugs cases during the period from 1999 to September 2004, involving 7611 people from various nationalities.

Drug quantities confiscated during this period weighed 18771 kilograms of cannabis, 431 kg of heroin and 111 kg of opium. The UAE also enhanced its regional and international efforts, resulting in 14 controlled delivery cases from 1999 till 2004. These cases, he said, resulted in the netting of the trafficking gangs in other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, Australia, Canada and Holland. The total of quantity of the confiscated drugs reached 19,442 kg of cannabis and 50 kg of heroin.

Joint international Controlled delivery efforts resulted in the netting of gangs in at least 12 cases with cooperation with Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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