FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF SCOTTISH JUDGE TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell MP, today welcomed the appointment of Lord Bonomy to the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia. Mr Rammell said: 'We warmly welcome the UN Secretary General's appointment of Lord Bonomy, a judge of the Scottish Court of Session, to the bench of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Lord Bonomy will replace Judge Richard May who is resigning for health reasons on 31 May.'
UK OFFERS PRACTICAL SUPPORT FOR AFGHANISTAN
Speaking from the Berlin Conference on Afghanistan, Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien welcomed the signature, on 1 April, of the Afghan Good Neighbourly Relations Drug Declaration. Mr O'Brien said: 'We and our international partners will offer practical support needed to make this Declaration effective.' Drawing attention to the £70 million Britain has committed specifically to address the drugs issue in Afghanistan, he continued: 'Afghanistan will return to peace and prosperity only if the drugs trade is eliminated. The UK has a direct interest in doing so: 95 per cent of all the heroin on British streets originates in Afghanistan.'
NEW DETECTION EQUIPMENT TO STOP DRUGS ARRIVING BY POST
Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Bill Rammell, has described new equipment to scan mail arriving from Jamaica for drugs as part of the solution to a complex problem. Following the success of operations designed to catch 'mules' swallowing cocaine and transporting it to the UK, there has been an increase in the volume of the drug arriving by post. Speaking in an interview for Radio 4's Today Programme, Mr Rammell said: 'I think we need to remember when we are dealing with the drugs industry, it's ingenious, it's illegal, it's well resourced and when we block off one route it will try to develop another.' He went on to say a multi-faceted approach was needed to tackle the problem, involving maritime co-operation, intelligence sharing and new detection technology. 'I've got confidence that there is a real political determination but we are dealing with a very changing, very ingenious illegal industry and we've got to keep one step ahead of the game,' he said.
UK TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST AFGHAN NARCOTICS
Afghan President Karzai and Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell will host a major international drugs conference in Kabul next February as part of the UK's efforts to step up the fight against Afghan narcotics. Afghanistan is the source of 90 per cent of the heroin on the UK's streets and there is a risk of an entrenched narco-economy developing, possibly with the drugs trade financing insurgent and terrorist groups. Speaking on 29 October, Mr Rammell said: 'Elimination of drugs from Afghanistan is not easy, it will take time and requires sustained international commitment. But the UK is committed for the long haul.'
AFGHANISTAN: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY 'UNITED AND DETERMINED' SAYS FOREIGN SECRETARY
The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has reaffirmed the UK's commitment to supporting Afghanistan on the road back to peace and stability. Speaking after a meeting with the International Development Secretary, Baroness Amos, and the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, Jack Straw said: 'I congratulated President Karzai on the progress his government has made in restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan and improving the lives of ordinary Afghans. In December, the Afghan people will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the drafting of their first post-Taliban constitution and to choose a system of government which reflects their values and aspirations... I [also] stressed the UK's commitment to support the Afghan government in their fight against drugs.'
FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER WELCOMES COLOMBIA DRUG OPERATION
Foreign Office Minister, Bill Rammell, today welcomed the conclusion of the joint anti-drug operation with the Colombian Police. Mr Rammell said, 'The arrests today are a tribute to the close cooperation that the UK and Colombia have forged in the war against drugs. It will mean less drugs on our streets and less money in the hands of those who try to deal in drugs. I pay tribute to the work of the police here and in Colombia.'
UK COMMITTED TO HELP AFGHANISTAN ELIMINATE DRUGS - RAMMELL
Britain remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in its fight to combat the drug trade and has allocated significant new resources for this, Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said during his first visit to the country as the new Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for drugs. Speaking on 23 July, Mr Rammell said: 'The illegal narcotics trade is one of the most serious problems facing the Afghan government, and there are no quick fixes. But the UK is in this for the long haul.'
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CONFIRMS SUPPORT FOR COLOMBIA
Following the London Meeting on International Support for Colombia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today, Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said: 'The meeting has been a positive step forward. We have achieved a unified position confirming the international community's support for Colombia as it seeks to tackle its severe internal conflict and serious illegal drugs problems and at the same time urging the Colombian Government to tackle human rights concerns. I welcome the Colombian Government's recognition and support for the role of civil society, governmental organisations and trade unions as important stakeholders in carrying out reform and defending human rights.'
FCO FUNDED TRAINING RESULTS IN DRUG SEIZURES IN THE CARIBBEAN
The Grenadian Coastguard has reaped immediate benefits from a Foreign Office funded training programme following their seizure of 150 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated street value of £8.7m. FCO Minister, Mike O'Brien, described the seizure as 'an excellent example of international cooperation in the fight against drugs'.
CONFERENCE ON ORGANISED CRIME: CONCLUDING REMARKS AND LONDON STATEMENT
FCO Minister Denis MacShane concluded the Conference on Organised Crime in South Eastern Europe on 25 November by commenting on the London Statement. He added the 'need to support international rule of law', the need for 'greater transparency in the European banking system' and he welcomed the 'new working-group focused on this issue'. He went on to outline 'a series of specific actions' arising from the conference and concluded: 'Collectively, with the actions agreed today, we can - and we will - start to defeat organised crime, and shift the balance permanently in favour of the honest citizen.'