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UN agency looks to expand cooperation with Libya in battle against drugs

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Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will start his three-day visit to Libya tomorrow. While there, he plans to hold talks with the country’s most senior leaders and administrators from the city of Tripoli, as well as to visit detention facilities and drug treatment centres.”We will explore ways to expand our cooperation with Libya, especially in light of the country’s announced commitment to fully contribute to international efforts against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism,” Mr. Costa said today. “Libya can play a prominent role in these efforts both in North Africa and in the Arab world in general.”Libya is party to all UN conventions against drugs, and has ratified the UN treaty against organized crime as well as all 12 universal instruments for the prevention and suppression of international terrorism. Last December, the country also signed the new UN Convention against Corruption.”UNODC stands ready to assist Libya in fighting corruption, which has been the government’s priority. Trafficking in human beings is another problem we would address together,” Mr. Costa said. “We strongly support Libyan leadership’s commitment to face the threat of drug abuse.”Voicing “serious concern” about HIV/AIDS, he also pledged to work with the authorities to reduce its impact.Vienna-based UNODC has been working in the country since 2001, running an ongoing project worth $2.8 million – funded fully by Libya – to provide training to 85 drug law enforcement officers. Several prevention workshops and seminars have taken place to increase awareness among youth and to train policy makers.In addition, equipment and other types of assistance have been provided to the border control officers, forensic laboratories, and drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centres. The Office is also carrying out an assessment of the prevalence of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS in order to develop a national drug demand reduction strategy.The National Postal and Telecommunication Authority has decided to join forces with UNODC in combating illicit drug trafficking and money laundering. A new, $1.4 million specialized technical assistance project is being designed to strengthen the national postal control and inspection systems in Libya. read more

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