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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

US, Russia to Step Up Drugs Fight

Russia's drugs chief on Thursday hailed a new agreement with Washington intended to boost joint anti-drug efforts and urged the United States and NATO to do more to stem a flow of drugs from Afghanistan.

The deal — signed by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Ivanov — envisions setting up groups of experts to plan joint action in combating drugs and also steps to curb demand for drugs, toughen law enforcement, and coordinate legislation.

Kerlikowske told reporters after the meeting that he promised Ivanov to monitor and assess the U.S. and Afghan governments' efforts to "interdict drug supplies, particularly those drug supplies headed to Russia," combat drug laboratories and drug storage facilities. He added that both countries would also "work cooperatively on drug traffickers and financiers."

Ivanov hailed the agreement as a key component of U.S.-Russian efforts to "reset" relations. But he also urged the United States and NATO forces to do more to combat Afghan drugs, which have become a major threat to Russia's security and have sickened millions.

"The efficiency of international drug-fighting efforts in Afghanistan needs to be strengthened," Ivanov said. "We agreed that the result of our work should be a significant reduction in drug production in Afghanistan."

He criticized an international conference on stabilizing Afghanistan held in London last week for failing to offer specific steps to fight drug production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the heroin consumed in the world.