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Firm action against drugs sought fr

Subject: Firm action against drugs sought from  Burma, Laos [Bangkok Post

April 27, 1999 ] 
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[Bangkok Post April 27, 1999 ]

Firm action against
drugs sought from
Burma, Laos 

MoU proposed to show commitment 

The Office of Narcotics Control Board yesterday called for firm
action from Burma and Laos to jointly crack down on drugs.

ONCB Secretary-General Payont Pantsri made the call in a meeting
aimed at seeking concrete plans for drugs suppression.

Mr Payont proposed the three countries should sign a memorandum
of understanding to show commitment and pave the way for joint
cooperation which should focus on a curb on stimulants as a first area
before extending to drugs suppression.

A source attending the meeting said the proposed signing of the MoU
would be a step forward because previous talks had ended with no
concrete measures.

Mr Payont, addressing the second meeting of senior officials on
cooperation in drug abuse control yesterday, pointed out that although
the three countries had made every effort to fight against this scourge,
illicit trafficking and drug abuse were still rampant.

"The drugs situation has changed," he said. "While heroin and opium
still continue to spread, demand for and supply of methamphetamines
is increasing alarmingly."He said closer cooperation on drug control
among the three countries and with other countries and international
drug control organisations was needed.

Ministers from the three countries will convene today and issue a joint
declaration reaffirming their anti-drugs stance.

Thailand has launched a campaign to reduce opium poppy cultivation
areas by using alternative development projects. In the past two years,
the country saw only a 1,485 hectare increase in the cultivation area.

Burma has planned to eliminate the cultivation of opium poppy in 15
years. The Burmese plan concentrates on supply elimination, demand
elimination, law enforcement, and local participation.

Laos' opium production was 123 tons last year, a drop of 17 tons
from 1996, according to a national survey.