MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin signed a resolution Tuesday allowing the Russian drugs authority to have offices abroad, the presidential press-service said.
The Russian Federal Drug Control Service will now be permitted to post up to 50 of its official representatives and their deputies abroad, who will "carry out their responsibilities as part of Russia's diplomatic mission without being official diplomatic staff," the resolution says.
Russia intensified its fight against drug trafficking in 2004 after Putin and other Russian leaders stressed the threat posed by drugs to national security.
The Federal Service for Control of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Circulation, established in 2003, was reorganized and renamed Federal Drug Control Service in an effort to intensify international cooperation against illegal cross-border trade in narcotic drugs. In 2004, Russia signed bilateral agreements on anti-drugs cooperation with China, Kyrgyzstan, and Nicaragua.
In January 2006, the federal service said it planned to launch its mission later in the year in Afghanistan, one of the world's largest producers of narcotics, which are smuggled into Russia via the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan.