Russia: Visit of Russian Counter-Drug Agency Director Ivanov to State Department

Taken Question
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 25, 2009

Question: Please provide follow-up on the meeting between INL Assistant Secretary David Johnson and Russian Counter-Drug Agency (FSKN) Director Viktor Ivanov.

Answer: During their July summit in Moscow, President Obama and President Medvedev called for the creation of a drug trafficking working group under the auspices of the U.S. - Russia bilateral presidential commission. They named White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Kerlikowske and Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) Director and Coordinator of the Russian State Anti-Narcotics Committee Viktor Ivanov as co-chairs. Director Ivanov traveled to Washington this week to advance planning for that group and to discuss counternarcotics cooperation between the United States and the Russian Federation (see also ONDCP press statement).

At the Department of State, Director Ivanov met with David Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and with Paul Jones, Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan. The drug situation in Afghanistan was a major topic of discussion in all of the meetings. Director Ivanov called for intensified action there.

In the meeting with INL Assistant Secretary Johnson, Director Ivanov reviewed steps being taken by the Russian government to develop a new anti-drug strategy, one that would place greater emphasis on addressing the alarming increase in drug abuse through prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Assistant Secretary Johnson provided an overview of the U.S. government’s international drug policies and programs, including INL's efforts to promote multilateral cooperation. In addition to a discussion of the expanding impact of Afghan heroin, they exchanged views on drug trafficking from Latin America and in Western Africa, and the deleterious effect that trade is having on newly-developing countries, including corruption and destabilization. They agreed that the United States and the Russian Federation could benefit from increased exchanges of best practices as well as operational coordination.

In the meeting with the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan, Director Ivanov described the growing challenge of drugs trafficked from Afghanistan into Russia. Deputy SRAP Paul Jones discussed the new U.S. counternarcotics strategy for Afghanistan and how it will be more effective in stemming the production and trafficking of Afghan narcotics because it integrates the counterinsurgency strategy and development efforts. They agreed that the Afghan narcotics challenge was a critical area for U.S. and Russian cooperation and looked forward to the bilateral working group under ONDCP and the FSKN to further develop joint efforts.

PRN: 2009/964