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Six-Nation Safe Mekong Operation Project Extended Till 2022

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CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Prajin Juntong has told a press briefing the six-nation Safe Mekong Operation Project will continue anti-drug operations for at least the next four years.

The campaign, which began in 2012, has pulled Thailand, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam together to tackle drug trafficking in the sub-region.

The project will continue until 2022, ACM Prajin told the Bangkok Post after he held talks with Lao Deputy Minister of Public Security, Somvang Thammasith, on anti-drug cooperation in Bangkok on Friday.

According to ACM Prajin, Thai and Lao authorities are committed to patrolling the Mekong River in Chiang Rai, opposite Laos’ Bo Kaeo province; Nong Khai, opposite Vientiane province; as well as Nakhon Phanom, opposite Khammouane province.

Thai authorities will supply a patrol boat to their Lao counterparts with control and maintenance training provided for Lao officials, he said.

“There are still various types of narcotics coming out of the Golden Triangle,” ACM Prajin said, referring to the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. “Accordingly, there is a need to seek ways to reduce supply and demand for drugs.”

According to the deputy premier, Thailand and Laos will work together to tackle drug problems with emphasis on exchanging information.

Lao officials, he said, had pledged to send drug samples found and seized in their country to Thailand, which would allow both countries to jointly study them.

Meanwhile, Oudomxay village in Vieng Thong city of Laos’ Bolikhamsai Province would also come under a joint development project meant to encourage locals to back away from drug trafficking, ACM Prajin said.

By King-oua Laohong