President Karzai, Your Excellences, members of the Cabinet, Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps, participants to this celebration on this International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking.
This day is meant to bring together all those who are concerned all over the world with the prevention, the use and the traffic of drugs and all the ill consequences of these activities related to drugs and of the people of the world and in particular of their children.
I think that President Karzai and the Interim Administration deserves our gratitude and admiration for the effort they have deployed to address this problem although their means were very limited.
Weave this particular programmer for Afghanistan and the international community to work together to completely eradicate the cultivation of drugs and in Afghanistan. They have also given a very strong message to the people of Afghanistan and to the rest of the world that this country, its government, its people, will not tolerate any more Afghanistan continuing to be one of the biggest producers of opium in the world.
Afghanistan, fortunately, is not afflicted with a very big problem of drug use. There are people, especially young people, who are drug addicts and I think that the people of Afghanistan and their government and their friends will want to prevent the problem of drugs becoming uncontrollable.
[Afghans have] the example of all their neighbors who have a huge problem of drug abuse in their country. Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, all have a very serious problem of drug abuse. The problem is probably even bigger. The Iranian government said publicly that they have at least one million and a half, mainly young people, who are drug addicts. Iran is combating this problem very effectively and is probably one of the countries that is most dedicated to the international cooperation against drug abuse and drug cultivation. Pakistan’s problem is even bigger. There are at least three million drug addicts in Pakistan. Pakistan and Iran have both eradicated the cultivation of drugs in their respective countries.
I think now Afghanistan will take up this challenge and in cooperation with the international community will also eradicate the cultivation of drugs in Afghanistan.
UNDCCP on behalf of the United Nations has been working with Afghanistan for many years and will continue to do so. I think that we, as the international community, are organizing ourselves even better than before to give more effective support to the struggle of the government and the people of Afghanistan against drugs.
Other parts of the United Nations will also cooperate with the government of Afghanistan to address the problem of drug abuse and drug addiction in the country. In particular, WHO, UNICEF for example, who are already working with the government and will continue and increase their work with the government to fight drug abuse in the country.
I would like to congratulate the organizers of this ceremony today and also for associating the children and making this really a celebration around the children. We congratulate them for this achievement and we hope that this meeting today will help to concentrate more attention on this very important subject.
Thank you very much indeed.