Mon 26 Jul 2004
Filed under: Drugs,News
July 25: Yangon: Myanmar, fresh from two huge drug busts, said Sunday that Asian states have done well in their fight against narcotics but urged Western governments to do more to combat the scourge.
The ruling military junta said it had seized nearly 600 kilos (1,320 pounds) of heroin, 5.6 million methamphetamine pills and key methamphetamine ingredients in separate July raids, highlighting the nation’s crackdown on drug producers and traffickers.
Myanmar is the world’s second largest producer of illegal opiates after Afghanistan but the UN states that the country has seen a two-thirds reduction in opium poppy production since 1996.
“Myanmar is confident that more outstanding achievements will be forthcoming as Asian countries in the region have joined hands to eradicate drugs with combined efforts,” the junta said in a statement.
“As the Asian countries work together in the fight against narcotic drugs, we urge those nations with the largest markets for heroin in the world to join in the efforts in making the world, or at least their own citizens, safe from the danger of drugs,” it said.
No specific nations were mentioned in the statement, but the junta has consistently vented its frustration in the past year at what it sees as Washington’s failure to cooperate in Yangon’s war against drugs.
The United States has traditionally been a top market for opiates grown and processed in Asia, but the United Nations warned that the world’s most populous continent was also acquiring a taste for hard drugs.
Yangon in its statement labelled the global narcotics industry a “menace to mankind.”
A March UN report said soaring opium cultivation in Afghanistan, porous borders throughout the region, and the massive production of methamphetamines were fuelling a growing drug crisis in Asian countries like China and Thailand.
But there has been success in cutting production in Myanmar and a similar drop in Laos, the world’s third largest illegal opiate producer, where the UN said opium cultivation dropped 45 percent in the past year.