US alarmed by allies’ drug exports
Published by BBC NEWS – Monday 4 February, 2003
Copyright: BBC NEWS
The United States has expressed concern about illicit drugs flooding in from Canada and the Netherlands.
President George W Bush says Washington maintains good relations with both the allies, but expects them to do more to stem the trade.
Yet neither Canada nor the Netherlands was included on the “majors list” of drug producing or trafficking countries in an annual White House report.
Mr Bush criticised Burma, Guatemala and Haiti for failing to co-operate in the global battle against the drugs trade.
Elsewhere in the report he put the same 23 countries on its “majors list” as last year.
They included Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Laos, Nigeria, Venezuela and Thailand, but the White House statement stressed that inclusion did not necessarily mean criticism of their governments’ efforts to stop the drugs trade.
Mr Bush highlighted an “alarming increase” in the quantity of synthetic drugs entering the US, especially ecstasy from the Netherlands.
“We expect Dutch authorities to move effectively and measurably in the coming year against the production and export of this drug, including dismantling labs and proceeding against trafficking organisations.
“Early in the year, we plan to discuss specific steps we can take together to reduce drug trafficking,” Mr Bush wrote in the statement which will be submitted to Congress.
He said his administration was “concerned” that Canada was a primary source of pseudoephedrine and an increasing source of high-potency marijuana.
“Over the past few years there has been an alarming increase in the amount of pseudoephedrine diverted from Canadian sources to clandestine drug laboratories in the United States, where it is used to make methamphetamine,” the statement said.
Mr Bush said Canadian authorities had not done enough to regulate the sale and distribution of various chemicals, though he praised other work by the law enforcement agencies.
Canada’s foreign ministry spokesman Rodney Moore expressed surprise at the criticism.
“This issue has not been raised during any of the recent meetings between Canadian ministers and their US counterparts,” he said.