Monday, September 17, 2012

Burma on US drug ‘blacklist,’ but aid waiver granted

Monday, 17 September 2012 13:35 Mizzima News

The United States said Burma has “failed demonstrably” in fighting the drug war, but that it will grant it a “national interest waiver” for development aid because of its ongoing democratic reforms.

The Obama administration noted that Burma has been “blacklisted” since 2002 and is the world's second largest cultivator of opium poppy, but said the country has made significant strides this year in joining the international fight against illegal drugs.

Poppies growing in a field in northern Burma Photo: UNODC

Burmese officials said they have already destroyed more than three times the amount of opium poppy fields as they did last year, according to the US president's annual memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that helps set US drug policy.

The country has also strengthened cooperation with regional and international partners, and engaged with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said the memorandum.

Nonetheless, “Burma's current counter narcotics performance is not sufficient to meet its international counternarcotic cooperation obligations,” Obama said.

The statement said that “given the government's demonstrated commitment to reform and promising signs of action on future poppy eradication, it is in the interest of the US government to grant Burma a national interest waiver.”

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