The Burmese military regime said Tuesday it had been told by the United States that it had failed to take sufficient steps to combat drugs production to be certified as cooperating in the fight against narcotics.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said, "The announcement, I would say, is premature at best. We're going to be looking at the decisions involved, make final determinations in the next several months. The question that some have raised of removing Burma from what's called the Majors List is not under discussion and it's not being recommended or looked at. Also, we're not considering any bilateral narcotics assistance for Burma."
He added, "The issue that has to be decided, because the law has changed and this list is being compiled and done differently than in previous years,is whether Burma has failed demonstrably, is the language of the law. Based on specific objectives given to Burma to make substantial efforts to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements and to take the counternarcotics measures specified in U.S. law. And so that's an issue we'll be looking at with Burma and others over the next several months."
He continues, "I don't know if we've had any conversations with them about it as we go forward with this process. We often do contact governments and try to understand what they've done or they haven't done. So they may have formed an impression from some conversations. But, as I said, we have a final determination to make over the next several months about whether or not they failed demonstrably to cooperate."
The denial comes after a massive effort by Burma to achieve a series of drug-eradication accomplishments including significant decreases in opium production and cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities.
The Burmese military regime has been campaigning in recent months to have its name taken off the list of "major" producers altogether, and has won qualified US praise for its efforts to combat illegal narcotics production. It sent anti-drugs czar Colonel Kyaw Thein to Washington earlier this year, and has conducted a string of public events in which large quantities of seized narcotics have been torched.
Information for this report is provided by AFP, DCI Statement, State Department Briefing.