Skopje, 21. June 2004 Press release

Ferrero-Waldner: "Close cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans is an absolute necessity in the fight against drug trafficking"

21.06.2004

Skopje, 21 June 2004 - During her visit to Macedonia Minister for Foreign Affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner emphasised the importance of cooperating with the states of the Western Balkans in the fight against drug trafficking: "Combating drug trafficking is an absolute necessity and can be carried out successfully only on the basis of close cooperation and mutual trust," said the Foreign Minister.

Ferrero-Waldner pointed out that already back in 2001 40 countries, including Macedonia, had been invited on Austria’s initiative to Austria to take part in a seminar on combating drug trafficking: "Thanks to our initiative it was possible to structure the cooperation more directly and effectively, a step that has also been of particular benefit to Macedonia, which lies on the notorious Balkan Route from Afghanistan to Central and Western Europe."

Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner went on to express her pleasure that the issue of concerted action to combat drug trafficking had meanwhile also been addressed within the EU: "Under the Greek Presidency an EU-Balkans Action Plan on Drugs was elaborated, which met with wide support. Through intensified cooperation the affected states will wage an uncompromising battle against drug trafficking ", said the Foreign Minister.