Canada Announces $25 Million Toward Counter-Narcotics Efforts in Afghanistan

(No. 45 – January 28, 2010 – 7:30 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs today announced that Canada will help combat the trade in narcotics in Afghanistan through a contribution of $25 million, bringing Canada's total contribution to support counter-narcotics efforts to $55 million since 2007.

"This contribution will support counter-insurgency and state-building efforts, and will be used to build counter-narcotics capacity in specific areas related to law enforcement, precursor control, criminal justice, and other operational and regional efforts," said Minister Cannon. "Canada recognizes that developing strong and effective counter-narcotics measures in Afghanistan is a vital element in the effort to help Afghans gain the security they need to build a long-term, stable, and prosperous future."

Minister Cannon made the announcement at the London Conference on Afghanistan. Co-hosted by U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and co-chaired by the U.K. and Afghan foreign ministers and the UN, the Conference focused on security, development and governance, and international and regional coordination. 

"The Conference is a tremendous demonstration of the international community's will to work with the new Afghan government to deliver a coordinated political, civil and military effort to counter the insurgency and provide good governance and development for the people of Afghanistan," Minister Cannon said. "The ultimate goal is to assist Afghanistan as it transitions toward taking responsibility for its security, as the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country as a stable, democratic and self-sufficient society."

Afghanistan is the world's leading supplier of opiates, and it has been recognized that there is a clear link between the illegal drug-trade in Afghanistan and funding for the insurgency.

"Among Canada's six priorities in Afghanistan are strengthening the accountability of Afghanistan institutions and promoting law and order by enabling the Afghanistan National Security Forces," said Minister Cannon. "This contribution to counter-narcotics complements Canada's priorities in Afghanistan, along with broader international efforts in addressing the counter-narcotics issue."

More than 65 delegations attended today's London Conference. It will be followed later this year by the Kabul Conference, which will further the initiatives put forward in London.

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