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March 2, 1998

Shared responsibility is now the basis for the anti-drug process in the hemisphere, the Organization of American States (OAS) secretary general, CÚsar Gaviria, said today as he opened the Second Consultative Meeting of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

Mr. Gaviria expressed satisfaction at the fact that proposals that the countries have put forward to strengthen "our hemispheric alliance against drugs and to create a multilateral process of cooperation and evaluation have been opening up avenues."

The secretary general explained that the new multilateral approach should fully comply with international laws that are in force and should be consistent with the rules and regulations on which international cooperation is based. "The process should be based on the guiding principles of the Anti-Drug Strategy such as shared responsibility, reciprocity, balance and consensus among the states," he added.

He also noted that the mechanism does not presuppose the formation of a supranational tribunal and recalled that several countries were opposed to it being given powers to apply individual or collective sanctions. "Whatever the evaluation mechanism approved by the countries, it should be governmental and technical in nature. It should, in other words, be developed by specialized government officials."

Mr. Gaviria ended his speech affirming that success in setting up the multilateral evaluation process was largely contingent on success in consolidating concrete principles born out of consensus and which can later become operational action at the technical level. "The next Summit of the Americas will certainly address this issue, which will mean an important political support for this whole process," he said.

Enrique Astete, the CICAD president, hailed the member countries' interest in an early establishment of "this assistance and cooperation mechanism for the drug problem to be managed in a comprehensive and balanced way."

The Second Consultative Meeting of CICAD, which brought together delegations from OAS member countries, will end on Tuesday, March 3.

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