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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/03/01 BRIEFING:  1995 NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN




                         ON-THE-RECORD BRIEFING BY
           UNDER SECRETARY FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS TIMOTHY E. WIRTH
                              AND
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR NATIONAL NARCOTICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AFFAIRS
                       ROBERT S. GELBARD

               RELEASE OF THE 1995 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS
                      CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT
                           March 1, 1995


     ACTING SPOKESMAN SHELLY:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Today the President sends to the Congress his narcotics certification decisions for the major drug-producing and transit countries, and the Department of State releases its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

     Tim Wirth, our Under Secretary for Global Affairs, and Bob Gelbard, the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, are here to speak on the President's decisions and on the narcotics report.

     Mr. Wirth will open with remarks, followed by Mr. Gelbard.  After that, they'll be happy to take your questions.

     UNDER SECRETARY WIRTH:  Christine, thank you very much.  This afternoon I'll make brief comments about the legal context in which this is found, and then put it into our overall context of administration policy.  Assistant Secretary Gelbard will walk through the specifics country-by-country, and then we'll get to your questions and hand out the report itself.

     The context in which we are making this delivery to the Hill today is the requirement that's found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which requires the President to submit to the Congress a determination of counter-drug cooperation of major drug producers or drug transit countries.

     Nations must either have fully cooperated with the United States or taken adequate steps to achieve compliance.  If a nation is de-certified (in other words, if we do not certify that they are fully in compliance or are taking adequate steps), de-certification then triggers a reduction in U.S. aid and opposition to loans in various MDB (multilateral development bank) activities.

     De-certification can be waived if the President determines that it is in our national interest to do so.  So that's the legal framework in which we find ourselves.

     Second, to put this in the overall framework of administration policy, this certification, de-certification, analysis and process is part of the overall efforts by this Administration to counter the very dangerous and increasingly threatening around-the-world menace of narcotics.

     Our policy has a variety of elements to it.  It includes interdiction of narcotics coming into the country (major efforts that are made in cooperation with other countries to interdict supplies coming into the United States); working with host countries on crop eradication and economic development; working with host countries to develop institutions of legal accountability and the rule of law; major elements of law enforcement here at home and abroad; a broadened set of domestic prevention and treatment programs here in the United States.  These are all part of the major commitments by this administration to up the pressure domestically and internationally in this very, very dangerous area of narcotics.

     We must have the cooperation of drug-producing and drug transit countries, and over the last two years our focus and pressure on drug transit and producing countries has become more and more intense.

     In last year's certification process, the President made very hard decisions, holding drug-producing and transit countries to extremely high standards.  His message was clear.  No more business as usual on international narcotics.  We will all be held to stringent and honest standards.

     This year the administration has gone further.  The President has called for all governments in the hemisphere to renew their counter-narcotics efforts.  He did so again at the Miami Summit.  He proposed changes to domestic law to permit the U.S. Government to continue to support drug interdiction in the Andes, and just last month he asked Congress for major budget increases in this year of spartan budgets to support both domestic and international counter-narcotics efforts.

     The President has asked the principal drug-producing and transit countries throughout the world to join with us in fighting the narcotics monster.  In some cases, this has meant making frank and honest assessments about the performance of other governments.  Some of them may find or have found this process to be painful, but we can't solve problems without first identifying and being honest about them.

     For our friends, I want to assure you that we will cooperate fully with you in your struggle against illegal drugs.  But we cannot do so if we avoid the hard truths, nor can we hide behind the polite formalities of traditional diplomacy.

     We acknowledge our own shortcomings.  We accept responsibility for our own failures.  But we must publicly identify those areas in which we believe our friends must also take more effective measures.  It's good law enforcement policy, it's good foreign policy, and it's the law.  Most importantly, for those of us in this administration, this is extraordinarily important for 250 million Americans who see all around them a scourge of crime, reinforced by the deep penetration of narcotics in so many places in the United States.  So we are responding to that need first and foremost.

     Let me now turn the podium over to Assistant Secretary Robert Gelbard, who is Assistant Secretary for programs related to narcotics and crime.  As I think all of you know, Assistant Secretary Gelbard is a career Foreign Service Officer.  He was Ambassador to Bolivia.  He was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Latin America and is one of the very best and toughest Foreign Service Officers who's done a terrific job with this Bureau.  Bob.

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Good afternoon.  As Under Secretary Wirth said, today President Clinton sent to Congress his decision on narcotics certification for 29 major drug-producing and transit countries.  The State Department also sent Congress its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.  You'll all be getting this report, which describes the anti-narcotics efforts of over 140 countries, including all countries that have received U.S. assistance for anti-narcotics purposes in the past two years.

     Before I talk about the specific decisions, let me go into a bit more detail about the two-stage certification process.  First, as Under Secretary Wirth said, the Foreign Assistance Act requires that the President identify a list of the major drug-producing and transit countries as defined in the law.  The current list was based on information from last year's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report as well as other sources.

     The President transmitted the list of 29 major drug-producing and transit countries to Congress on February 2.  The current list for the first time includes Vietnam, Taiwan, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and omits Belize from previous years' lists.  All of the countries on the list are subject to the second stage of the process -- the certification determinations.  Including them on the list per se is not a judgment of their efforts against narcotics.  It is a recognition that a large quantity of illicit narcotics is produced in or transits through the country.

     For the 29 countries on the list, the President must determine whether, during the previous calendar year, they cooperated fully with the United States or took adequate steps on their own to meet the goals and objectives of the 1988 U.N. Convention on Drug Trafficking.

     The law provides the President three certification options:

     First, he may certify that a country is cooperating with the United States and/or taking adequate steps on its own to meet the goals and objectives of the 1988 U.N. Convention.

     Second, alternatively he may deny certification.

     Third, for a country whose counter-narcotics performance does not qualify for certification, he may make a vital national interests certification.  This is done when U.S. national interests require that the United States be able to cooperate, provide foreign assistance, or vote for assistance from the multilateral development banks despite the country's failure to meet full narcotics certification standards.

     If the President determines that full certification or vital national interests certification is appropriate, foreign assistance remains unchanged.

     However, if the President denies certification, most categories of assistance are immediately cut off.  This means halting most forms of aid under the Foreign Assistance Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and financing through the Export-Import Bank.  The U.S. also is obliged to vote against any loans to the country in the multilateral development banks.

     The law also gives Congress 30 calendar days, if it chooses, to overturn the President's certifications by enacting a joint resolution.

     This year the President certified 18 of the 29 countries as fully cooperating with the United States in counter-drug efforts and/or taking adequate steps on their own to meet the goals and objectives stated in the 1988 U.N. Convention on Drugs.

     These certified as cooperating fully are:  The Bahamas, Brazil, China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.

     Both Laos and Panama received vital national interests certifications last year but have now been certified by the President as fully cooperating.

     The President granted vital national interests certifications to six countries:  Bolivia, Colombia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Paraguay and Peru.  Colombia, Pakistan and Paraguay were fully certified last year.

     The President denied certification to five countries:  Burma, Iran, Nigeria, Syria and Afghanistan.  Last year Afghanistan received a vital national interests certification.

     Before I take your questions, I'd like to explain the reasoning behind some of the decisions that have generated interest.

     Around the world, we're working in countries where drugs are produced to stop them at the source.  In transit countries we're working to stop the traffickers movement of drugs.  In both producer and transit countries, we're working to halt money laundering and spill-over drug use.

     Each country is different and each has an area where we try to focus our counter-narcotics assistance to obtain the greatest impact.  Often these problem areas are the most difficult to handle, either politically or practically.  If we want to hurt the traffickers, we must hit them in areas most critical to their operations.

     Certification decisions are based on a country's performance.  We welcome and applaud all efforts against drug-trafficking and production.  However, we expect producer nations to take action against production, we expect transit nations to take action against trafficking, and money laundering nations to take action against the misuse of their financial systems.

     Over the past two years, we have developed an aggressive Western hemisphere strategy to focus on the drug source countries.  There has been some real progress, but, as the President's decisions reflect, we still need to do more.

     Peru and Bolivia together produce more than 80 percent of the world's coca.  In 1994, both countries made significant progress in law enforcement operations, seizing drugs and arresting traffickers.  However, both failed to take any significant steps in the area of greatest importance -- reducing the cultivation of coca.  Because of this, the President certified Peru and Bolivia only on the basis of vital U.S. national interests.

     In contrast, the fundamental issue in Colombia is strong, serious law enforcement.  The world's largest cocaine trafficking organizations are based in Colombia, and they threaten Colombia's very social and political institutions.  Colombia needs an aggressive policy to capture and prosecute major drug-traffickers.  They need a judicial system and process that really punishes drug-traffickers with sentences commensurate with their crimes rather than just slaps on the wrist.  They need money laundering and asset forfeiture laws and laws which actually function properly to attack the wealth of the traffickers.

     In his annual review, the President recognized these shortcomings and certified Colombia based on vital U.S. national interests.

     Heroin use is also on the rise in the United States.  The President's certification decisions reflect our growing concern for this problem.  Burma, the world's largest producer of heroin, has not reduced opium cultivation and was again denied certification.

     Afghanistan was denied certification this year because of a 39 percent increase in opium production and no effort to stop it.

     Nigeria's heroin trafficking and courier organizations now span the globe.  It was also denied certification this year as last year.  That said, we do acknowledge that Nigerian anti-narcotics efforts stepped up at the close of the year, and we hope the trend will continue in the course of 1995.

     In Pakistan, we have recently seen some positive efforts to stop the cultivation of opium poppies, but the President gave Pakistan a vital national interests certification based on modest overall counter-narcotics efforts during the course of 1994.

     The drug industry is powerful.  But the collective political will of countries around the world to stop drug trafficking is more powerful.  By effectively addressing all elements of the drug trade in each country, including demand for drugs in the United States, we can cripple the drug traffickers.

     The President recognized this fact in his decisions and employed very stringent standards.  The certification process was subjective and careful.  The drug issue remains an important part of our foreign policy and our bilateral relations with all countries, especially, though, with the major drug-producing and transit nations.

     Our message to countries that did not receive full certification is that this Administration is serious about defeating the drug business and expects the same from all of them.  The United States will continue counter-narcotics cooperation but expects serious efforts in all major producing and transit countries against their most important problem areas.

     Thank you very much.  I'll be happy to take questions.

     Q     Bob, could you be more specific concerning the vital national interests vis-a-vis Colombia?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  The decision the President took in deciding on a certification for vital U.S. national interests is based on several factors.  Colombia is an important democracy, has close economic relations with the United States, but most importantly it is the most critical country in terms of the United States Government and the President's Western hemisphere drug strategy.

     We want to continue to try to develop further our bilateral cooperation and try to achieve much better results in Colombia on counter-narcotics.

     Q     A cynic might look at this list and say that the nations that receive certification for vital national interests are nations with which we have good relations for other reasons; and the nations that were not certified are nations that we don't like for other reasons.  Is that a fair assessment?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  No, that's not a fair assessment.  As I said in my statement, we made these decisions on the basis of really objective criteria.  When the President made decisions based on U.S. vital national interests, of course it may turn out that some of the countries that received that kind of certification category are those with which we have a range of U.S. interests.  But this was done really on the basis of performance and expectation of better performance.

     Q     Some Colombians are asserting that their country was demoted largely because of domestic U.S. -- the policy change here with respect to the Republican-controlled Congress.  What is the message you're trying to send to Colombia?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Absolutely untrue.  During the course of the last months we have engaged in an intense and very serious dialogue with the Colombian Government about our very serious concerns about the worsening circumstances in the drug area in Colombia.

     We are seriously concerned about the fact that there were no major drug prosecutions in Colombia.  There has been a lessening effort in our view in attempts to capture major traffickers.  We have seen a number of efforts where traffickers received nothing more than slaps on the wrist in terms of sentences, with no seizure of their assets.

     There still is no law outlawing money laundering in Colombia, and we have been concerned about the overall atmosphere involving serious corruption which has really pervaded much of the institutions which are critical to assuring strong counter-narcotics performance.

     We are hopeful, of course, that during 1995 we will see better performance on the part of the Colombian Government, and we want to continue to work with them to achieve that.  But the idea that this has something to do with domestic politics of the United States is simply not correct.

     Q     On Colombia again, when President Samper came into office there were a lot of questions in this town about his link to the Cali Cartel.  I know that this report was for last year and much of it does not concern him.  In the time since he's assumed office, is your assessment that he is doing everything he can do to fight narcotics in Colombia or do you still -- does this Administration still hold doubts about his resolve to fight narcotics?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  As I said several times in the course of my statement, the fundamental issue involves the question of whether a country is fully cooperating with the United States, and we clearly do not feel at this point that the Colombian Government is fully cooperating with us.

     As I just explained, we think it is imperative that in Colombia through further efforts by their government -- and we expect to fully cooperate with them on this -- that there are much stronger measures for capture, for prosecution, serious sentences, asset seizure, and so on.  We feel the Government of Colombia has to take a major role and much greater efforts to do that.

     That being said, we have seen some hopeful signs in the early part of this year.  There is now, for example, a Sentencing Commission, a Review Commission that has been established to review the levels of minimum sentences within Colombia, headed by the Minister of Justice and including other senior officials.

     They have talked to us about legislation that would criminalize money laundering, that would toughen up asset forfeiture laws.  We hope, of course, because of the critical nature of Colombia to any kind of Western hemisphere success in counter-narcotics, that the Samper Government will be able to do more.

     But it's also in the hands of the Congress of Colombia and the Judiciary.

     Q     How do you feel about the National Police Director apologizing to the Cali Cartel for disrupting a birthday party for one of their chieftains?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  I don't believe it was the National Police Commissioner who did that.  To our very great concern, I think it was the President who did that.

     Q     (Inaudible)

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  We were very concerned about it.  In fact, the current head of the Colombia National Police, General Serrano, is someone in whom we do have confidence.

     Q     As a follow-up, if I might, Mr. Gelbard --

     MR. GEDDE:  Request a filing break for those who are interested.  This just means you can file your stories.  Go ahead.

     Q     Follow-up.  Do you foresee the United States' role in Colombia to continue at present levels, or do you think that it might be useful that we might increase our presence in Colombia?  Would that be purposeful in view of the lack of cooperation?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  We want to continue to cooperate in as strong a measure a possible with the Colombian Government.  Our goal is to reinforce Colombian institutions and develop further Colombian capabilities, both in the law enforcement area and in their efforts to eradicate drug crops.

     Q     And, if I may follow on that, you mentioned about the levels of trafficking.  In our vital national interests, I heard a disturbing statistic recently that drug prices are stable and that means availability is stable in this country.  Is that correct?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  I believe that is correct.

     Q     Would you give an appraisal of the overall year last year in the broad global outlook?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Worldwide?

     Q     Yes.  (Inaudible) the same as the year before?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  I think it's been a very mixed picture during 1994.  There were some successful efforts in some areas.  We saw some very good efforts in the Western Hemisphere in some countries.  For example, I mentioned we saw the development of very effective law enforcement efforts on the part of Peru, continued very good law enforcement efforts in Bolivia, strong performance by the new Panamanian Government trying to begin to develop and implement controls against money laundering.

     There are some good results in Colombia, too; but there have also been some negatives, without any question.  One of the most disturbing developments has been the use of large cargo aircraft to transship shipments of cocaine in the range of six to ten tons at a time, from Colombia, usually up through Mexico, and then by land on into the United States.  This is a problem which has created enormous difficulties for us and for the Mexican Government.  We have been in intense discussions with the Colombians and the Mexicans about developing greater cooperation on this problem.

     Overall, though, what is imperative to remember is that these are problems which are going to require long-term solutions, and we have to be in this for the long haul.  There are no overnight answers to solving these problems.

     In the area of heroin, we are concerned about the increase in heroin consumption worldwide and in the United States, although in the United States it starts from a very low base.  Our principal problem lies in Southeast Asia and especially in Burma.  We calculate that some 60 percent of the heroin coming into the United States has its origin in Burma, and we are trying to develop greater cooperation in the range of Southeast Asian countries as well as in all other countries throughout the world that either produce heroin or produce opium poppies, heroin or are transit countries there.

     There are some good results, and I think we're heading toward the development of a national counter-heroin strategy in the United States.

     Q     Mr. Secretary, let me ask again about Colombia.  You said that you were concerned that apparently this apology came from the President in the case of the Cali Cartel.  Do you think that there are any links between the President of Colombia and this Cali, and I ask you this especially...all this tapes controversy that we remember from the campaign.

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  There have been lots of stories, as you're well aware, in the press about the possibility of links of many politicians in Colombia; and we are extremely concerned about that.  We have been fundamentally concerned about, as I mentioned earlier, the pervasive corruption throughout political institutions at all levels.

     We certainly are aware of the stories that have come up at various times about President Samper.  What is critical for us is the ability to achieve the important positive results in the fight against drug-trafficking and to help the Colombian people solidify their democratic institutions.

     Q     (Multiple comments)

     Q     Just to follow up on that.  Has the President lost any credibility -- President Samper has lost any credibility to the United States Government in that respect?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  We are aware, of course, that his government was in power less than half a year during 1994, so we certainly hope and expect that there will be strong efforts on the part of the Colombian Government in the course of 1995.

     We have recently had a number of high-level Colombian Government visitors at the Ministerial level.  We have had very serious and important discussions with them about their plans and our willingness to cooperate with them, and so we certainly hope the Colombian Government will follow through and achieve the results that they have discussed with us.

     Q     You have strongly criticized Colombia's level of cooperation, yet the U.S. Government has granted them a vital national interests waiver.  Do you worry that that waiver will be an incentive for Colombia not to cooperate; and are you threatening them that if they do not cooperate more, we might deny them a waiver next year?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  We have not threatened anything like that.  As I mentioned just a minute ago, we have had extensive discussions with a significant number of very senior members of the Samper Government about these issues, and they know certainly what our levels of expectations are with great precision.

     They have discussed this with a wide range of U.S. Government officials here in Washington, as well as in Colombia.  There can be no doubt in the minds of the Colombian Government about what our expectations are and about the degree of cooperation that we're prepared to continue to offer.

     Q     And what happens if they do not reach those levels of expectation?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  I can't begin to predict what the President will do next year.

     Q     Could I speak in Spanish, please?  Do you speak Spanish?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  No.

     Q     Okay, in English.  Do you believe that Colombia is a narco-democracy?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  I don't know what that term means.  Sorry.

     Q     You probably saw the report from the Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday calling for not certifying Colombia and calling it a narco-democracy, and so on.  Are you worried that in these 30 days that Congress has to respond to the President's recommendations that the Senate and/or the House will vote against this, particularly in the case of Colombia and the other countries that have been granted national interests waivers?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  None of the decisions the President took regarding the two categories of either de-certification or vital national interests certification are easy decisions.  They're very difficult, and they took a great deal of discussion within the U.S. Government even prior to any recommendations that were forwarded to the President for his decision.

     All of these were taken with significant thought, and the President, obviously, spent a great deal of time giving this thought.  We feel very strongly that this is the right decision, and we are obviously prepared to defend this very strongly in the Congress.

     Yes, I have looked at the report prepared by the majority staff.  They based a lot of the report on the basis of a letter that President Samper had sent to a number of members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, last July.  Of course, we, too, are concerned about the lack of achievement in many areas.

     Q     Why are Syria and Lebanon placed in different categories?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Because they're two different countries.

     Q     Can you explain the --

          (Laughter)

     Q     Can you explain the -- they usually march in lockstep, so that's why I asked the question.

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  There is a certain amount of relationship in terms of the Bekaa Valley.  In the case of Lebanon, we have seen continued presence of both heroin laboratories and cocaine laboratories.  But, on the other hand, we have seen an increased amount of drug-trafficking through Lebanon that we feel has little or nothing to do with Syria, and that concerns us a great deal.

     In the case of Syria, we have seen some improvement in terms of their narcotics performance.  But we remain concerned that there is still manufacture of drugs either under their hegemony or in their territory, and we remain concerned about the problem of drug-related corruption among some officials of the government.

     Q     (Multiple comments)

     MS. SHELLY:  One at a time.

     Q     Could you elaborate a little bit on the drug-trafficking situation in the greater China area -- China, Hong Kong, Taiwan -- what the problems are, what kind of cooperation you get from these governments?  And Taiwan has denied being a drug-trafficking transit area.  What is your response to that?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  First, there has been, as I alluded to earlier, a significant increase in heroin production largely coming out of Burma, the largest producer of opium in the world and certainly one of the largest producers of heroin.

     Traditionally, the overwhelming majority of that heroin transited through Thailand.  Much of it continues to transit through Thailand, but this has now become a problem which has permeated all of Southeast and East Asia.  It has affected China.  It has affected countries as far north as Korea and Japan, Philippines and all the other countries in Southeast Asia.

     What we have now seen is that in addition to cultivation which exists in several of the Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Laos, perhaps some in Cambodia, we're also seeing, as I say, significant transit and trafficking through all those countries.  This has been a particular problem in China as there's been a surge of heroin coming through China out of Burma with a concomitant significant increase, very sadly, in drug addiction.  The Chinese have been working very hard to try to combat this, and we have been working with them.

     We've also been working with other countries and, for example, in the last year our cooperation with Thailand improved in very important measure, particularly with law enforcement authorities.

     In the case of Taiwan, we have been very concerned that Taiwan has increasingly been used as a transit point for heroin coming to the United States, Canada and elsewhere.  Taiwan has been very successful in interdicting drugs, as one can see through the results of the seizures over the last several years.

     Taiwan now has the third highest amount of seizures last year of any country in Asia, but there still remains a significant amount of drugs transiting through their territory.  That is of great concern to them as well as to us.

     But this is a problem we're now seeing throughout all of Asia, as we're seeing the rate of addiction on the increase, money laundering on the increase, and other concomitant financial crimes, as well as trafficking and cultivation.

     Q     What is the role of some terrorist organizations in drug trafficking.  For example, the Kurdish terrorist organization PKK is involved in some transshipping to some tribe drugs from Asia to Europe.  Do you have any investigation?  Do you have any action?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  We have heard such reports; but I would note that Turkey is not our list, so I think I'd rather not get into it.

     Q     (Inaudible)

     Q     Excuse me.  Some say that as long as there is demand for drugs in the United States, somebody will always have something to offer to these addicts.  What's the Clinton Administration's policy on that?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Well, I would --

     Q     The key to one of these --

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Let me just answer this one first, please.

     Let me respond in two different ways.  First, the Clinton Administration recognizes very strongly and very clearly that we need to have -- and do have -- a balanced approach in terms of both the need for supply reduction and the need demand reduction.  The President's budget this year that just went up to Congress I think increased about a billion dollars, up to about $l4.6 billion; and the overwhelming percentage of that is dedicated toward demand reduction.

     But on the other hand I would say it would very strange, and even outrageous, to try to blame the victim for the crime.

     Q     Can you assure to all these countries that you are doing the most you can in order to stop the consumption in the United States?  Can these countries certify the United States, for example, if they want?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  Of course, I do represent the State Department, which deals with foreign policy; but I would say we have been making extraordinary efforts within this country, as reflected in both the financial commitment as well as the human commitment, to try to reduce consumption of drugs.

     Q     To reduce --

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  It is extremely difficult, and efforts continue.  It is very difficult.

     We do believe in a balanced approach to this, I emphasize; but it's also most unfortunate when I see -- as I did in a newspaper this morning -- that a newspaper editor in Colombia was talking about them being the victims.  I think we have to be concerned about the amount of human suffering which has occurred as a result in the American people, as well as elsewhere, as a result of drug consumption.

     It is a hideous crime, and it's poisoning the American people and the rest of humanity.

     Q     Is the U.S. a victim in this situation?
Is the United States the victim?  You mentioned before that it was a --

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  When we see the effect of drugs on the American people, yes, we certainly consider ourselves the victim, although we also do believe there has to be a balanced approach in this regard.  We also understand very clearly that there are a significant number of American citizens too who are drug traffickers, who are money launderers, who are corrupt; and that's why we have also made an intensified effort to go after those people and to do things, as we have done, against these related crimes.

     As a result, for example, of one of our efforts, there are virtually no American chemicals being used for the manufacture of cocaine any more.  We've cut that off.  We have taken intensive efforts against money laundering in this country.  And, certainly, we have stepped up very dramatically our prosecution efforts.

     MS. SHELLY:  The last question.

     Q     Is there any dollar figure you've put on what this means to Colombia, or what it would mean if you were to cut it off in terms of aid and loans?  Is there a number?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  I could not provide such a number.

     Q     Colombia was certified.  What happened in the intervening period that caused them to be decertified with the waiver?

     ASSISTANT SECRETARY GELBARD:  We feel that there were worse results in terms of lessened efforts to capture drug traffickers.  There were more worrisome results in terms of the sentences against drug traffickers as a result of plea bargains; the lack of assets seized, lack of efforts to criminalize money laundering.  There was a l3 percent growth, I think, in coca production, as well as a significant increase in opium poppy production.

     We calculate, by the way, that approximately l2 percent of the heroin coming into the United States now comes from Colombia, which is an extraordinary and very serious problem in addition to the traditional cocaine problem.

     Q     Thank you very much.

     MISS SHELLY:  Thank you.

     (The briefing concluded at l:44 p.m.)
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