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Bush Says Burma, Haiti Have Failed in Drug War

President Bush Says Burma, Haiti Have Failed in Drug War

Twenty-one other countries on major transiting/major producing list

Burma and Haiti have "failed demonstrably" to comply with international agreements on fighting the drug wars, according to findings released by the White House September 15. In an annual process required by law, the president has found that it is in the national interest to maintain assistance to Haiti. His report to the secretary of state did not include the same waiver for Burma.

The annual drug certification process requires the White House to assess global drug trafficking and governments' efforts to combat it. In so doing, the Bush administration has drawn the so-called "Majors List" of major drug-transit or drug-producing countries. The same 23 countries are named as in 2002. They are Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.

"A country's presence on the Majors List is not necessarily an adverse reflection of its government's counternarcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States," according to the White House memorandum for the secretary of state. Geographic, commercial and economic factors may all be conducive to drug trafficking in a given country, the memo says, "despite the concerned governments most assiduous enforcement measures."

The law calls for decertified nations to become subject to sanctions. The United States already maintains a comprehensive regimen of sanctions against the junta in Burma due to the lack of progress toward democracy and violations of human rights.

The White House issued a statement by the press secretary, explaining the determination, and the text of the determination from the president to the secretary of state. The text of both documents follow.

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
September 15, 2003

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

Annual Presidential Determinations of Major Illicit Drug-Producing and Drug-Transit Countries

President Bush sent to Congress his annual report listing the major illicit drug producing and drug-transit countries (known as the "Majors List"). In the same report, he provided his determinations on which of these countries has "failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts" during the previous 12 months to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements and to take the counternarcotics measures specified in U.S. law.

The certification determinations required the President to consider each country's performance in areas such as stemming illicit cultivation, extraditing drug traffickers, and taking legal steps and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption that facilitates drug trafficking or impedes prosecution of drug-related crimes. The President also had to consider efforts taken by these countries to stop production and export of, and reduce the domestic demand for, illegal drugs.

In his report, President Bush identified as major drug-transit or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

The President also reported to Congress his determinations that Burma and Haiti failed demonstrably, during the previous 12 months, to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and to take the measures set forth in U.S. law. The President determined, however, that provision of United States assistance to Haiti in FY 2004 is vital to the national interests of the United States. Therefore, under provisions of the FRAA, Haiti will receive assistance, notwithstanding their counternarcotics performance. The President did not make this determination with respect to Burma.

The President also registered his growing concern over heroin and methamphetamine trafficking linked to North Korea, and expressed his intent for the United States to intensify its efforts to stop North Korean involvement in narcotics production and trafficking.

(end text)

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
September 15, 2003

September 15, 2003

Presidential Determination
No. 2003-38

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE

SUBJECT: Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for 2004

Consistent with section 706(1) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-228) (the "FRAA"), I hereby identify the following countries as major drug-transit or major illicit drug producing countries: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

The Majors List applies by its terms to "countries." The United States Government interprets the term broadly to include entities that exercise autonomy over actions or omissions that could lead to a decision to place them on the list and, subsequently, to determine their eligibility for certification. A country's presence on the Majors List is not necessarily an adverse reflection of its government's counternarcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States. Consistent with the statutory definition of a major drug-transit or drug-producing country set forth in section 481(e)(5) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the "FAA"), one of the reasons that major drug-transit or drug producing countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographical, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to transit or be produced despite the concerned governments most assiduous enforcement measures.

Consistent with section 706(2)(A) of the FRAA, I hereby designate Burma and Haiti as countries that have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and take the measures set forth in section 489(a)(1) of the FAA. Attached to this report are justifications (statements of explanation) for each of the countries so designated, as required by section 706(2)(B).

I have also determined, in accordance with provisions of section 706(3)(A) of the FRAA, that provision of U.S. assistance to Haiti in FY 2004 is vital to the national interests of the United States.

Combating the threat of synthetic drugs remains a priority, particularly the threat from club drugs, including MDMA (Ecstasy). Since January, we have redoubled our efforts with The Netherlands, from which the majority of U.S. MDMA seizures originate. I commend the Government of The Netherlands for its efforts to address this scourge, including increased enforcement, improved risk assessment and targeting capabilities of passenger aircraft and cargo, and international cooperation to control precursor chemicals. I urge the Government of The Netherlands to focus its efforts on dismantling the significant criminal organizations responsible for this illicit trade, using all tools available to law enforcement. Continued progress in implementing our joint action plan, developed in March, should have a significant impact on the production and transit of MDMA from The Netherlands to the United States. Although we have seen a stabilization of MDMA use rates domestically, there is an increase in the number of countries in which MDMA is produced and trafficked. We will continue to monitor the threat from synthetic drugs and the emerging trends.

The United States and Canada are both targeted by international trafficking organizations. We continue to work closely with the Government of Canada to stem the flow of illicit drugs to our countries and across our common borders. The United States remains concerned about the diversion of large quantities of precursor chemicals from Canada into the United States for use in producing methamphetamines. We hope that Canada's newly implemented control regulations will disrupt that flow. The United States is also concerned about widespread Canadian cultivation of high-potency marijuana, significant amounts of which are smuggled into the United States from Canada. We will work with the Government of Canada in the coming year to combat these shared threats to the security and health of our citizens.

In the 8 months since my January determination that Guatemala had failed demonstrably in regard to its counternarcotics responsibilities, the Government of Guatemala has made efforts to improve its institutional capabilities, adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements, and take measures set forth in U.S. law. These initial steps show Guatemala's willingness to better its counternarcotics practices, but the permanence of these improvements has yet to be demonstrated. I expect Guatemala to continue its efforts and to demonstrate further progress in the coming year.

We are deeply concerned about heroin and methamphetamine linked to North Korea being trafficked to East Asian countries, and are increasingly convinced that state agents and enterprises in the DPRK are involved in the narcotics trade. While we suspect opium poppy is cultivated in the DPRK, reliable information confirming the extent of opium production is currently lacking. There are also clear indications that North Koreans traffic in, and probably manufacture, methamphetamine. In recent years, authorities in the region have routinely seized shipments of methamphetamine and/or heroin that had been transferred to traffickers ships from North Korean vessels. The April 2003 seizure of 125 kilograms of heroin smuggled to Australia aboard the North Korean-owned vessel "Pong Su" is the latest and largest seizure of heroin pointing to North Korean complicity in the drug trade. Although there is no evidence that narcotics originating in or transiting North Korea reach the United States, the United States is intensifying its efforts to stop North Korean involvement in illicit narcotics production and trafficking and to enhance law-enforcement cooperation with affected countries in the region to achieve that objective.

You are hereby authorized and directed to submit this report under section 706 of the FRAA, transmit it to the Congress, and publish it in the Federal Register .

GEORGE W. BUSH


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