Cablegate: Drugs Troika Discusses Eu Drugs Strategy,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary. The annual U.S.-EU Drugs Troika was held
October 25 in Brussels. INL DAS Jonathan Farrar had
wide-ranging discussions on trends in cocaine, heroin and
synthetics production and trafficking. The USAID Office
Director of South America Affairs gave a detailed
presentation on U.S. support for alternative development
programs in the Andean Region. The EU summarized its
2005-2008 Drugs Strategy, noting that no new legal
instruments would be introduced to combat trafficking;
rather, priority would be to make use of existing legislation
to stem the supply of drugs into the EU. The ONDCP previewed
its National Synthetic Drugs Action Plan and Europol
discussed synthetics production in Europe. The UK delegation
reported on heroin production in Afghanistan. The incoming
Luxembourg Presidency proposed June 21 for the next troika.
End summary.

2. (U) The Dutch Presidency hosted the annual U.S.-EU Drugs
Troika October 25. The U.S. delegation was led by INL DAS
Jonathan Farrar and included INL program analyst Maren
Brooks, ONDCP Supply Reduction Policy Analyst Charlotte
Sisson, USAID Office Director of South America Affairs Beth
Hogan, Global Affairs Officer Erin Webster-Main from Embassy
The Hague, DEA/Brussels James C. Kabel, and USEU NAS Frank
Kerber. The EU side was chaired by Robert van Embden, Head
of the Judicial and Police Cooperation Division of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and included representatives
from the Commission, the EU Drug Monitoring Center in Lisbon,
the upcoming Luxembourg Presidency, Europol, and national
delegations from France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Malta,
Belgium, Ireland, the UK and Spain. The chair of the central
Dublin Group also attended.

3. (U) Mr. van Embden opened the meeting with an overview of
the EU Drugs Strategy for 2005-2008. He emphasized themes of
international cooperation and research and evaluation found
throughout the strategy. No new legal instruments are
proposed for counter narcotics; rather, priority will be
given to making use of existing instruments to reduce drug
supply. Among these are the EU Mutual Legal Assistance
Treaty and the Framework Decision on Minimum Penalties for
Drug Trafficking. On the latter, the Member States have 18
months to pass national legislation along the guidelines
contained in the Framework Decision. Emphasis in the new
Strategy will be on Afghanistan, Colombia, Morocco and the
drug supply routes into Europe. The Commission has completed
its evaluation of the 2000-2004 Action Plan. The new
Strategy 2005-2008 will be formally adopted in December.

4. (SBU) DAS Farrar provided the USG introduction of the
agenda item on cocaine, mentioning our success in reducing
coca cultivation in Colombia and the need to protect the hard
won progress made previously in Peru and Bolivia. He noted
that INL A/S Robert Charles has been invited to testify
before Congress on November 17 on European assistance to
counternarcotics efforts in Colombia. He asked that the EU
provide information on any counternarcotics or alternative
development programs there, and also information on any plans
to provide assistance for demobilization programs in
Colombia. He noted that our programs are on target to spray
130,000 hectares of coca in Colombia in 2004, similar to the
2003 results, and that we are prepared to spray a similar
amount in 2005 if it were necessary.

5. (U) AID Office Director of South America Affairs Beth
Hogan gave a presentation on USAID's Alternative Development
(AD) Program in the Andean Region. She said that U.S.
foreign policy objectives for the program are to strengthen
democracy, promote economic growth, eliminate narco-terorrism
and significantly reduce narco-trafficking. The three
pillars of U.S. counter-narcotics strategy are eradication,
interdiction and alternative development. USAID's objectives
for its AD assistance are to reduce coca production; prevent
the spread of coca into new areas; promote alternative licit
crops; develop economic and social infrastructure; and create
sustainable, licit employment opportunities. Among the
challenges faced by the program are the fact that coca
production is rooted in history, culture, economics and
geography; coca is a low maintenance, high yield crop; coca
provides a lucrative market amid widespread poverty; it is
politically and tactically difficult to eliminate; and it is
hard to maintain adequate financial support for the program
in a time of increasing budget pressures. USAID has learned
valuable lessons about alternative development from its
experience over the years. These lessons include: crop
substitution is not enough; community infrastructure projects
help build social cohesion and economic opportunity;
sustainable economic opportunity is key to long-term success;
there is a need to create economic opportunities beyond
coca-growing regions; expanding/strengthening state presence
is critical; production is moving to hard-to-reach areas;
risk avoidance is the dominant factor in decreasing
production while production costs are a secondary concern;
the cocaleros are becoming increasingly politically
sophisticated and disruptive; there is increasing evidence of
collusion across borders; and finally, the traditional
"agro-centric" approach still has merit but a
multidimensional effort is needed. This integrated
development approach includes expanding the state presence;
building host government capacity to meet social needs and to
provide security and law enforcement; strengthening
democratic institutions; developing the private sector;
increasing trade capacity; and generating public support and
political will. Hogan presented AID's estimated FY 05 Andean
funding levels for AD efforts in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and
Ecuador as a share of total development assistance. She then
gave a brief summary of the AD programs in those countries,
noting that over 30,000 families are receiving AD assistance
in Bolivia and nearly 40,000 families in Colombia. Tentative
Andean targets for the program are 100,000 families in AD
activities, completion of 2,000 economic/social
infrastructure projects, and development of 150,000 hectares
of licit/forest land.

6. (U) Europol responded to the presentation by noting the
significant decrease in coca production since 1985. The
Andean region is also among EU priorities. Cocaine
shipments, seizures and consumption have increased in several
EU Member States. Cocaine enters the EU primarily through
maritime means, but also via couriers and air cargo.
Colombian groups are setting up commercial enterprises in
West Africa (e.g., Togo, Ghana and Nigeria). 90 tons of
cocaine was seized in the EU in 2003, mostly in Spain and the
Netherlands. Spain especially has become a "depot" country
for cocaine imports. There is a growing link between
organized crime and cocaine trafficking, especially in Spain
and Greece. Albania is developing into a cocaine storage and
processing area. Half of the cocaine seized in the
Netherlands last year came via couriers landing at
Amsterdam's Schipol airport. Couriers are also operating
from Jamaica into the UK. Europol does not collect Member
State data on drug prices or purity - only data on the active
ingredient in the drugs on the market. However, the European
Drug Monitoring Center (EMCDDA) noted plans underway to begin
collecting price/parity data in order to better evaluate the
drug situation in Europe.

7, (U) The Commission (DG External Relations) said that EC
drug assistance to Latin America is focused on the Andean
Region. However, the EC's approach to AD is different from
that of the U.S. The EC never compensated farmers for not
growing coca. The EC stresses community development. There
is no conditionality with the governments for EC assistance;
AD forms part of the political dialogue with these countries.
The Commission rep said the EC has two AD projects in
Colombia, three in Peru and two in Bolivia. The EC projects
in Colombia are "peace labs," which the Commission rep said
were AD programs in the broadest sense, and may be expanded
to a third site. The Colombia projects are funded for Euro
35 million each over eight years. (During the luncheon
following the Troika, EU reps said they had no new
information on EU plans for demobilization assistance in
Colombia but would endeavor to provide an update on the
margins of next week's UNODC Major Donors meeting in Vienna.)
The EMCDDA rep (European Monitoring Center for Drugs and
Drug Addiction) said that the Center's 2004 Annual Report, to
be published November 25, will show that cocaine use in the
EU is on the increase. EU Member States are having
difficulties identifying effective treatment for cocaine drug
users; U.S. experience in this regard is important.

8. (SBU) The U.K. rep opened the discussion of the drug
situation in Afghanistan by noting that opium production was
3,600 tons in 2003 and is expected to increase in 2004. The
CNPA (Central Narcotics Police of Afghanistan) has been set
up in Kabul. The UK is working to involve ISAF and Coalition
forces in CN efforts; a new counternarcotics annex on ISAF
made real progress in expanding upon the actions which ISAF
can take in this area. Italy is heavily engaged in
strengthening the judicial system. A special task force on
criminal justice in counter narcotics is being set up, and
there is on-going training for CN prosecutors, judges and
investigators. There remains a need to strengthen
Afghanistan's CN legislation and prison capacity. The U.K.
made a strong pitch to his EU colleagues to provide
immediately additional experts on the ground for interdiction
efforts (i.e., customs and CN police), investigations, and
intelligence gathering. CN efforts must be mainstreamed
whenever feasible into development aid projects focused on
areas that are targeted for eradication. DAS Farrar
responded that the new Afghan government also would need to
take forceful steps to remove corrupt officials as part of
its counternarcotics campaign.

9. (SBU) On the regional side, EU chair van Embden noted
there has been an increase in the volume of heroin
trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe through Pakistan, Iran
and Turkey. Drug trafficking routes through Central Asia
serve primarily Russia's internal market. DAS Farrar
underscored our support for a regional approach to the
problem, but added that concerns had arisen in Washington as
to whether Tashkent was the appropriate site for the UNODC's
proposed Central Asia Regional Information Coordination
Center (CARICC). The European Commission representative
responded that the EU had concerns as to whether the project
was viable given Central Asian states' domestic capacity to
collect and share information. Both sides agreed that
further discussion would be needed. The DEA rep noted that
most heroin flows to the U.S. are from Colombia and Mexico;
only four percent comes from SE Asia and four percent from SW

10. (U) Charlotte Sisson from ONDCP previewed the new
National Synthetic Drugs Action Plan (available on The plan lays out actions to
address the growing problems posed by synthetic drugs,
including illicit drugs and diverted pharmaceutical products.
Sisson noted that the plan combines domestic and
international efforts for attacking and disrupting the trade
in synthetics. Sisson highlighted the 46 recommendations in
the areas of prevention, treatment, chemical control and law
enforcement. Europol noted that the Netherlands and Belgium
remain the primary producers of Ecstasy and amphetamines.
Authorities seize 50 to 70 major synthetic drug laboratories
each year. Several criminal groups supply only the equipment
or the chemicals used in the drug production - not the drugs
themselves. While 24 million Ecstasy tablets were seized in
the EU in 2003, Europol noted consumption in one Member State
is one million tablets per week. There has been increased
ethnic involvement in the Ecstasy drug trade, especially
among Turks, Moroccans and Chinese. The Chinese connection
is understandable given that China is the main supplier of
precursor chemicals. Most synthetic drug seizures are still
at airports, but the trade is moving to maritime shipments.
The price per tablet in the EU is approximately Euro 5. The
principal international traffickers are from Albania, the
Dominican Republic, Russia and Israel.

11. (SBU) The U.S. and the EU agreed to coordinate positions
for the 2005 meeting of the United Nations Commission on
Narcotic Drugs (CND). The EU will begin substantive
discussions on the CND in late November and has received the
U.S. documents for the thematic debates on HIV/AIDS and
Community Capacity Building. DAS Farrar summarized that the
U.S position leading up to CND would be that the UNODC has an
overly full plate already, particularly in implementing its
commitments in Afghanistan and the Central Asia region, and
that it should not be asked to take on additional mandates.
The U.S. delegation also noted it has not prepared any
resolutions for the CND.

12. (U) The incoming Luxembourg Presidency proposed to hold
the next drugs troika on June 21. Both sides agreed to
monitor developments in the coming months before deciding
whether a June meeting is warranted.

13. (SBU) Comment. The EU schedules its drug troika with
the U.S. around its internal horizontal drugs meeting for the
convenience of its Member States. Several national
delegations use this schedule to attend the troika meeting.
This is highly unusual, since other troikas are normally
attended only by the Commission, the current and future
presidencies, and occasionally the Council Secretariat. As
noted above, this drugs troika was attended by national
representatives from France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Malta,
Belgium, Ireland, the U.K. and Spain. Only the U.K. had a
substantive role in the agenda. The department needs to
consider whether it is comfortable with this extended
attendance or whether we should raise the issue with future
EU Presidencies. End comment.


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