ISLAMABAD-Minister for Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi on Tuesday met with United States’ Principal Assistant Secretary of State, James Walsh on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) being held in Vienna, Austria from March 2-6, 2020. The minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to strengthening international efforts for combating world drug problem and the international drug control regime.

Minister Shehryar Afridi emphasised the need for continued engagement for countering the threat of opiates originating in the region. Afridi said that it was high time that Pakistan and the US worked closely towards securing the region from menace of drugs.

Referring to the US-Taliban agreement signed last week, Shehryar Afridi stressed the need for renewed joint efforts to eradicate the illicit drugs trade especially originating in Pakistan’s neighbourhood. In this context, the minister suggested that the two sides should hold regular consultations to strengthen their joint collaboration, particularly in the areas of training and technology.

James Walsh expressed his appreciation for the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Narcotics Control Pakistan (MNC) and the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and assured of all possible cooperation. Both the sides were of the view that a workable plan of action would be developed in the wake of Peace Deal recently signed between the US and Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan. Walsh said that the US administration would make efforts to ensure end of violence in Afghanistan. He said the US is fully committed to fight the spread of drugs, adding that it would continue to engage with Pakistani authorities.

Afridi suggested that bilateral engagements between the two countries should be held in Islamabad and Washington to help wage joint efforts to eradicate the illicit drugs trade. James Walsh agreed to the idea and said that the US was looking forward to working closely with Pakistan in this regard.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the main policymaking forum of the United Nations on all issues related to drugs.

The 63rd session is being held in Vienna under the chairmanship of Ambassador of Pakistan in Vienna Mansoor Khan.