Officials from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia gathered in Hanoi on November 15 for the 12 th Trilateral Ministerial Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation to seek further measures to coordinate support in fighting drug crime.

At the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed the Vietnamese Government’s determination to cooperate closely with Cambodia and Laos, as well as regional countries and the international community to combat drug crimes to strive for the sound and sustainable development of each nation.

He said that the Vietnamese Government is well aware of the drug problem, and has for years focused on drug prevention by eradicating the planting of opium poppies, reducing the number of drug addicts and increasing international cooperation.

The Government has realised the importance of raising people’s awareness of drugs as a preventive measure, and the involvement of social organisations and businesses in detoxification, post-detoxification activities and job generation for rehabilitated drug users, Phuc said.

He expressed his wish that measures put forth in the meeting will transform the three countries’ coordination in drug prevention in the future.

Participants voiced concerns of the complicated developments in regional drug crime – a region dubbed as the world’s second biggest heroin provider.

They noted the ceaseless coordination between the three countries’ border provinces to curb drug criminals operating in the border areas.

They agreed to strengthen efforts to implement the ASEAN Work Plan on Combating Illicit Drug Production, Trafficking and Use in the 2009-15 period, and the Roadmap to Build a Drug-Free ASEAN by 2015.

They also underlined the need to step up cooperation among ASEAN member countries and actively participate in ASEAN’s drug prevention cooperation mechanisms.

Earlier in the day, ministerial meetings between Vietnam and Laos, and Vietnam and Cambodia were also held.

The sides reviewed their coordination in drug control and agreed to actively implement measures to prevent drug transport and trafficking via roads, water and air ways, and at the same time improve the efficiency of border liaison offices and increase the exchange of information and professional training for authorised forces in border provinces.

The heads of the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao delegations are scheduled to sign a cooperation agreement on November 16.-VNA