WASHINGTON, November 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has reiterated its proposal to the United States to sign a bilateral extradition agreement, the Russian justice minister said.
Although Moscow and Washington agreed in 2007 to draft an agreement on the extradition of crime suspects, further progress on the deal is still pending.
"We have reiterated our earlier proposal to the U.S. on the bilateral extradition agreement. In our opinion, it is wrong that countries such as the United States and Russia do not have even a basic normative document on extradition," Alexander Konovalov said after his recent visit to the U.S.
During the visit, Konovalov met with officials from the U.S. Department of Justice in New York and Washington, and visited a penitentiary facility in New Jersey.
According to the Russian minister, the fight against terrorism, organized crime and corruption should be the key aspect of cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of law enforcement.
"We have agreed to establish permanent contacts in this area of cooperation," Konovalov said.
"We have also proposed to our American partners to establish a permanent dialogue Russia-EU and the U.S. on the fight against drug-trafficking," the minister said, adding that the Americans could provide valuable assistance to Russia in preventing the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan.
An estimated 90% of heroin consumed in Russia is trafficked from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the vast majority of heroin consumed in Europe passes through Russia on its way from Afghanistan, where illegal drug production has reportedly risen 44 times since 2001.
The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has about 67,000 troops in Afghanistan under a UN mandate to give security support to the Afghan government and stop the flow of drugs from the country.