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26 February 1999 


(Certification denied to Afghanistan, Burma)  (880)

WASHINGTON -- Following is the text of a Feb. 26 press release issued
by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
regarding the annual certification process for cooperation in the
anti-drug fight:

(begin text)

Washington, D.C. 20503


Washington, D.C. -- President Clinton today sent to the Congress his
certification determinations with respect to the current list of major
illicit drug producing and drug transit countries. The announcement
was highlighted by an appearance at the State Department by Attorney
General Janet Reno, White House Drug Czar Barry R. McCaffrey, and
Under Secretary of State Frank Loy. Of the 28 nations on this year's
list, 22 have been certified as either cooperating fully with the U.S.
or taking adequate steps on their own to combat the illicit drug
problem. They are: Aruba, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, China,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India,
Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand,
Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Director McCaffrey pointed out "the importance of international
cooperation in creating opportunities to strengthen regional
enforcement efforts. In Colombia, the Pastrana administration has
developed a comprehensive counter-narcotics strategy, and has been
receptive to U.S. offers of advice and assistance. Even though illicit
crop cultivation has increased, record levels of illicit crops were
eradicated for the third straight year. The Pastrana administration
has expressed a commitment in the Joint Alliance Against Drugs, signed
during President Pastrana's visit in October 1998, to continue close
cooperation as we advance our joint counter-narcotics goals. According
to Director McCaffrey, Colombia faces the difficult challenge of
acting effectively against drugs while it must simultaneously deal
with armed insurgents who control vast tracts of drug producing
territory in that nation. We support President Pastrana's efforts to
achieve peace and bring the rule of law to Colombia's drug zones."

McCaffrey also asserted that Mexico continues to confront an extremely
serious drug threat. "We believe it will only be possible to stem the
growing power of major drug trafficking organizations if the U.S. and
Mexico cooperate. In furtherance of this objective, the U.S. and
Mexico agreed to a bi-national counter-drug threat assessment, a
bi-national drug control strategy, and bi-national performance
measures of effectiveness. We believe that this unique approach will
increase cooperation and lead to a long-term reduction in drug

McCaffrey continued, "During 1998, Mexico implemented legislative
reforms, arrested numerous drug traffickers, including major
methamphetamine producers and dealers, and sustained massive
interdictions and eradication programs. Mexico's seizures of heroin,
methamphetamine, and marijuana were up last year. In addition, Mexico
led the world in eradication in 1996 and 1997, and last year was
second only to Colombia. President Zedillo has publicly underscored
his commitment to combat drugs by allocating $400-500 million in
funding for high tech equipment and methods. President Zedillo and
Attorney General Madrazo have also placed great emphasis on ridding
their country of corruption. Mexico and we realize this is a long-term
project. Bi-national training efforts are helping to professionalize
the fight against drugs and to increase cooperation. Certification
will help nurture a positive working relationship with Mexico that is
essential as we continue to confront the shared threat of
international drug trafficking."

The President denied certification for Afghanistan and Burma.
McCaffrey stated, "Burma and Afghanistan supply over ninety percent of
the world's supply of opium poppy. In Burma, no noticeable inroads
were made in 1998 against drug trafficking and production, and no
major traffickers were arrested. A U.S. funded crop substitution
program was canceled, and a lack of enforcement against money
laundering has created an environment conducive to the use of drug
related proceeds in legitimate commerce. In Afghanistan, cultivation
increased by seven percent in 1998, without any significant action
taken by warring political factions to deter either production of
trafficking. Burma and Afghanistan must do more to confront the
powerful criminal elements trafficking in illicit drugs within their
own borders who increasingly threaten communities everywhere with
crime, violence, corruption, addiction, and disease."

The President also determined that even though Cambodia, Haiti,
Nigeria, and Paraguay did not fully meet the criteria established for
certification, the vital interests of the U.S. require their
certification. Director McCaffrey underscored "the increased drug
trafficking threat from criminal organizations using Haiti as a
transshipment point for cocaine moving to the U.S. through the
Caribbean. The prolonged political impasse between the executive and
legislative branches, resource constraints, corruption of vulnerable
institutions, and the lack of an effective judiciary all reduced the
effectiveness of Haiti's counter-narcotics efforts. However, sanctions
resulting from decertification would undermine efforts to consolidate
democracy in Haiti and frustrate efforts to end the ongoing political
crisis. It would also reduce the incentive for Haiti to improve its
counter-narcotics performance. Vital National Interest Certification
for Haiti will help end the ongoing political crisis, promote economic
stability and democracy, and stem the flow of illegal migrants and
narcotics into the U.S."

(end text)