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Opium Output in Laos Drops, but

Subject: Opium Output in Laos Drops, but        Still High 


               Opium Output in Laos Drops, but
               Still High


               HANOI (Nov. 10) XINHUA - The output of opium in Laos has
dropped but is
               still as high as 123 tons this year, according to a report
by the Lao official news
               agency KPL monitored here Tuesday. 

               This was disclosed on Monday by Soubanh Sritthirath,
minister to the
               president's office and chairman of the Lao National
Commission for Drug
               Control and Supervision, at the opening ceremony of a
regional drug
               enforcement seminar in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. 

               The Lao government has pursued a constant policy to
supervise and control
               narcotic drugs in an effort to gradually curb opium
production, marijuana
               plantation, and smuggling of illicit narcotic drugs, the
report said. 

               Through bilateral and multilateral co-operation, Soubanh
Sritthirath said, opium
               production in 10 out of the 17 provinces has dropped from
140 tons in 1996 to
               123 tons this year. 

               The two-week regional seminar is aimed at emphasizing the
               important role played by Laos in the international fight
against drug trafficking,
               KPL said. 

               The participants at the seminar include law enforcement
officials from Thailand,
               China, China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the
               Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and

               The U.S. government appreciates and supports the
counter-narcotics efforts of
               Laos and other countries in East Asia, the U.S. Embassy in
Laos said in a press
               release Monday. 


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