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Joint Press Statement of the US-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan, 26 April 2002
Joint Statement of the US-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan

The U.S. and Russian delegations also discussed ways of assuring security in the regions adjoining Afghanistan, particularly in Central Asia. In this context, the U.S. side reiterated that the United States has no intention of establishing permanent military bases in Central Asia. The co-chairs affirmed that U.S.-Russian cooperation with Central Asia and the Caucasus has developed productively since September 11. In discussing the problems of the Transcaucasus, the sides reaffirmed their conviction that a settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts can be achieved only by political methods, through existing negotiation mechanisms based on UN Security Council and OSCE decisions. They underscored the need to continue efforts to assist the Government of Georgia in developing its capabilities to counter terrorism within the framework of the Coalition against Terrorism. The sides also reviewed the upcoming Central Asia and Caucasus Counterterrorism Conference which will take place in June.

They agreed that one of the ways to ensure a stable and lasting peace in Central Asia is to halt the illicit trafficking of narcotics, the main flow of which comes from Afghanistan. The Working Group participants welcomed and strongly support the measures taken by the AIA that are aimed at preventing the cultivation of poppies and the production of opium. They advocated an increase in international assistance for these AIA efforts. They agreed on the importance of continuing the effort to establish counternarcotics "security belts" around Afghanistan. To that end, the United States and Russia agreed to lead regional efforts, including in conjunction with the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), aimed at strengthening border control and law enforcement cooperation to stop the flow of illicit opiates from Afghanistan to the region and beyond.