30 January 2013, 20:10

Russia-US to fight drug threat after 2002 agreement termination

Russia-US to fight drug threat after 2002 agreement termination

Moscow and Washington will continue to cooperate on fighting drug trafficking despite the termination of the agreement dated 2002. Russia has scrapped a decade-old agreement with the United States that granted Moscow financial aid to fight crime, including drug trafficking, the Russian government said Wednesday. The experts interviewed by the Voice of Russia believe that the termination of the agreement won’t have any negative consequences.

The agreement was originally prompted by Russia’s lack of budget financing for law enforcement at the time and was intended to support Moscow’s efforts in combating drug trafficking, cybercrime, money-laundering, human trafficking, corruption and terrorism. According to some media reports about $2 million were allocated under the agreement in more than 10 years. The former Deputy Chairman of Russia’s State Drug Control, member of the Foreign Defense Policy Council Alexander Mikhailov doubts that these reports are trustworthy. He says that the agreement was formal which is proved by how Russia and the US cooperated on fighting the Afghan drug threat.

"It was a framework agreement to some extent. Because of its general nature the US made some inappropriate steps with regard to Russia. Let’s remember a well-known provocation with Viktor Bout and the situation around Afghanistan. Americans were not cooperative and we carried out some operations with great difficulties."

In fact Russia was fighting the Afghan drug threat on its own. By now the situation has not changed that is why the termination of the agreement is a formal procedure, Semen Bagdasarov, an expert at the Center of Analytical Studies says.

"Under this agreement Russia tried to do its best. It came up with a radical plan on fighting opium poppy crops but Americans did not approve it. Our hopes on our western allies first of all on the US were not justified. Sometimes the impression was as if they simply did not want to fight drug trafficking at all. I think that Russia won’t miss anything with the termination of the agreement."

The agreement is no longer effective on the expiration of 90 days after one party informs the other about its decision to terminate it. On Wednesday, the Russian government asked the Foreign Ministry to inform the US about it decision. Meanwhile some sources with the Russian special services said that despite the cancelation of the agreement the cooperation between Russia and the US on fighting drug turnover will continue under other agreements.

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