U.S. 'Regrets' Russian Decision To End Law-Enforcement, Drug Agreement
January 31, 2013
The United States says it "regrets" a decision by Russia to terminate a bilateral agreement on cooperation in law enforcement and drug control.
"We obviously regret this decision, because under our agreement we've had very fruitful cooperation with Russia on rule of law, countercorruption efforts, preventing trafficking in persons, counternarcotics, and strengthening our mutual legal assistance cooperation," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
"We obviously remain committed to working on these and other mutually beneficial law-enforcement issues with the Russian Federation, for example on interdicting narcotics."
She suggested Russia itself would suffer as a result of the decision.
"From our perspective, this is also self-defeating, because most of the work we were doing under this agreement was also involved in training Russians -- training them on trafficking-in-persons interdiction; training them on implementation of the mutual-legal-assistance treaty that we have; training them in implementation of their own new criminal-procedures code, which was something that they sought our help on and we helped them work on, so how to implement that was something that we were working on," Nuland said.
"But it's obviously a Russian decision if they don't feel they need that help anymore."
The Russian government announced on its official website earlier on January 30 that the agreement "does not address current realities and has exhausted its potential."
Under the 2002 deal, Washington provided financial assistance to help Moscow combat drug trafficking and other crimes, including human trafficking, Internet-technology crimes, money laundering, corruption, and terrorism.
The cancelation comes amid a recent souring of U.S.-Russia relations.
Aleksei Pushkov, who heads the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, said Moscow was in the process of "saying farewell to our dependence" on Washington.
In September, Russia asked the U.S. Agency for International Development to leave the country, and in December Moscow banned U.S. citizens from adopting children from Russia.
With reporting by Interfax, Reuters, and RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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