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Russia says NATO ignores CSTO offers to fight Afghan drugs

Russia says NATO ignores CSTO offers to fight Afghan drugs
Russia’s foreign minister says NATO has so far ignored repeated offers from the CSTO bloc to start real action in fighting the Afghanistan drug trade, such as destroying poppy crops and heroin labs.

“We’ve been urging our NATO colleagues for a long time to establish cooperation between CSTO and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” Lavrov observed in an interview to the Mir TV channel. “In our view, they pay little attention to the destruction of crops and drug-manufacturing laboratories in Afghanistan.”

The Russian foreign minister believes it is necessary to forge close “real-time” links between “those who are fighting this threat in the country and CSTO which works on the external borders of Afghanistan’s neighbors.”

“For the time being our partners from NATO avoid giving an answer,”

Lavrov noted,

“although more than a dozen NATO member-states are involved in the Channel anti-drug operation as observers.”

Russia is interested in the CSTO playing a bigger role in the anti-drug fight, Lavrov added. He also pointed out that in the recent years the organization has become “more efficient” and has gained importance. It now has more tools in assuring security and countering external threats which its member-states are facing.

The CSTO, headquartered in Moscow, is made up of seven former Soviet republics: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. On May 15, the CSTO celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding treaty and in October, the tenth anniversary of its creation.