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Cablegate: Unodc On Afghanistan and Related Drug Issues

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUNV #0617/01 3261312
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211312Z NOV 08
FM USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8719
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1402
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0238
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0258
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0065
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHNA/DEA WASHDC

UNCLAS UNVIE VIENNA 000617

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM PREL EAID AF UN CO PK IR SA
SUBJECT: UNODC on Afghanistan and Related Drug Issues

REF: UNVIE 615

---------
SUMMARY
---------

1. (SBU) Meeting in mid-November, UNODC Executive Director told
Ambassador of the shocking level of amphetamine seizures in Saudi
Arabia. He expressed surprise at the difference between USG and
UNODC estimates of poppy cultivation in Pakistan, predicted a
decline in Afghanistan poppy cultivation in 2009, and proposed to
conduct more frequent surveys on coca cultivation in Colombia. He
cited problems in counternarcotics efforts in Iran, and requested
Ambassador's help for him to meet with CENTCOM Commander General
Petraeus. Costa and General Petraeus may meet in Europe during
December 8-9. End Summary.

------------
Afghanistan
------------

2. (SBU) Costa stressed that reduction in poppy cultivation could
not be sustained without improved security. Asking missionoffs not
to take notes, he shared with Ambassador the information that poppy
cultivation and opium production would be down significantly in
2009, based on preliminary planting surveys there. He said he would
disclose this information at the November 18 Friends of Afghanistan
meeting. (Note: at the November 18 meeting, Costa stated that the
level of poppy cultivation across Afghanistan would either hold (in
the poppy-free provinces) or decline, with the greatest decline
predicted for Helmand and the southern provinces, where such
cultivation could fall by 20% in 2009. See Reftel. (End Note.)

---------------------
Drugs in Saudi Arabia
---------------------

3. (SBU) Costa began his November 12 meeting by informing
Ambassador of his pending visit to Saudi Arabia, because he has been
shocked by the consumption of amphetamines reflected in the large
seizures of the chemical in the country. He showed Ambassador a
graph from UNODC's 2008 World Drug Report (page 176) which indicated
seizure of 12.3 metric tons of amphetamines, generally marketed as
Captagon, in Saudi Arabia in 2006. Costa noted that that amount
exceeded the combined total of such seizures in the U.S. (5.8 mt)
and China (6.1 mt), and accounted for 28% of total world seizures.
Costa said that Saudi Arabia and Iran have the worst addiction
problems in the world.

--------------
Pakistan Poppy
--------------

4. (SBU) Ambassador gave Costa a copy of the letter from INL A/S
David Johnson responding to Costa's earlier proposal to extend the
Afghan opium survey to Pakistan. Costa seemed surprised at the USG
data that less than 2000 hectares in Pakistan were under poppy
cultivation, or about 1% of the Afghan acreage. Costa said that
former Pakistan President Musharraf had indicated 8,000 hectares.

---------
Colombia
---------

5. (SBU) Costa told Ambassador that Colombia president Uribe was
"disturbed" by UNODC's data on coca cultivation in his country.
Costa noted that both USG and UNODC data, though different, point to
the same downward trend in coca cultivation in Colombia. To address
Colombia's concerns, UNODC would propose to conduct more surveys
throughout the year, as it does in Afghanistan. In other words,
UNODC would monitor/survey pre-planting intentions, planting and
harvest data.

----
Iran
----

6. (SBU) He also noted that Iran was a problem for the UNODC
because it needs and wants help in counternarcotics, but there is
only "limited donor appetite" for assistance to Iran. He asserted
that Iran, directly or through Pakistan, absorbs/transships 70% of
Afghanistan's opium export. Strengthened border controls will not
solve the problem as long as corruption and organized smuggling can
circumvent these controls. In his view, for others to help Iran,
the government must first be willing to acknowledge that it has a
problem with both drug addiction and official corruption that
encourages the drug trade.

-------------------------
Briefing General Petraeus
-------------------------

7. (SBU) Costa asked for Ambassador's help to brief CENTCOM
Commander General Petraeus on Afghanistan. He said he would be
willing to travel to Florida for a joint event with the General
regarding the narcotics situation in Afghanistan.

8. (SBU) (Note: We have since learned that General Petraeus agreed
to a low-key meeting in Europe, where he plans to travel on December
8 and 9. Costa has prior plans to go to Brussels on those two days
for an anti-corruption event with the European Commission. It is
possible that the two may meet in Brussels or elsewhere in Europe
during those two days. End Note.)

SCHULTE

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