Vientiane Times/ANN: Representatives from Laos, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam gathered in Vientiane on Friday for the opening of a centre that will foster close cooperation and support for the fight against illicit drugs in the region.
The opening ceremony for the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre-Vientiane Capital (SMCC) was attended by the Deputy Minister of Public Security and the Commissioner of Drug Control and Supervision, Major General Dr Somvang Thammasith, and the Director General of the General Police Department, Brigadier General Dr Thonglek Mangnormek.
Speaking at the ceremony, Major General Somvang said: “Currently, drug problems have become a serious issue for many governments in the world. These problems have had a negative impact on the economic and social development, stability and security of the world. lt requires joint collaborative efforts to address this serious threat.”
He added, “The opening of the SMCC is a historical event in the field of drug control in this region. It is an important event and a great opportunity for us to share lessons learned, exchange experiences and intelligence of six member countries, jointly research and find solutions to address drug trafficking, and intercept precursor chemicals in the Golden Triangle area more effectively.”
He highlighted the importance of intercepting and controlling drugs that lead to various crimes and are harmful to the population.
“I would like to urge the member countries of the Safe Mekong Joint Operation Project, namely Laos, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, to jointly focus on the following points – strengthening of close cooperation among the six member countries to intercept precursor chemicals trafficking into the Golden Triangle area, and strengthening cooperation among the six member countries to intercept drugs being trafﬁcked from the Golden Triangle area through the member countries to third countries,” he said.
“I would like to urge all coordinators of the six member countries, who are working at the SMCC, to closely cooperate for the exchange of intelligence and information to help each other effectively.”
He said drugs and related issues are a national and global problem. “A single country will not be able to address these problems alone. Thus, it requires joint collaborative efforts to address this serious threat. I do hope that all member countries of the Safe Mekong Joint Operation Project, and international organisations will continue to cooperate and support the Lao PDR in addressing drug problems in order to contribute to a drug-free region in the near future,” he added.
Brigadier General Thonglek said Lao participants in the Safe Mekong Project, since its creation on March, 2013, had cooperated and conducted activities in their own area, ofﬁcially sharing information and taking turns to host the SMCC.
“During the implementation, we could see the effectiveness of cooperation for drug control by the six Mekong sub-region countries,” he said.