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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 23, 1999


I am pleased to provide the attached report on a Western Hemisphere Drug Alliance in accordance with the provisions of section 2807 of the "Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998." This report underscores the Administration's commitment to enhancing multilateral counternarcotics cooperation in the region.

Strengthening international narcotics control is one of my Administration's top foreign policy priorities. Because of the transnational nature of the Western Hemisphere drug trafficking threat, we have made enhanced multilateral cooperation a central feature of our regional drug control strategy. Our counter-narcotics diplomacy, foreign assistance, and operations have focused increasingly on making this objective a reality.

We are succeeding. Thanks to U.S. leadership in the Summit of the Americas, the Organization of American States, and other regional fora, the countries of the Western Hemisphere are taking the drug threat more seriously and responding more aggressively. South American cocaine organizations that were once regarded as among the largest and most violent crime syndicates in the world have been dismantled, and the level of coca cultivation is now plummeting as fast as it was once sky-rocketing. We are also currently working through the Organization of American States to create a counter-narcotics multilateral evaluation mechanism in the hemisphere. These examples reflect fundamental narcotics control progress that was nearly unimaginable a few years ago.

While much remains to be done, I am confident that the Administration and the Congress, working together, can bolster cooperation in the hemisphere, accelerate this progress, and significantly diminish the drug threat to the American people. I look forward to your continued support and cooperation in this critical area.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE, 
                              February 23, 1999.

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