Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-469"

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". Madam President, I want to begin by emphasising that this report is extremely important, timely and courageous. The two emergencies to which it refers both merit political attention and a political response that they clearly have not yet received. While the security situation and the situation regarding opium production in Afghanistan are increasingly worrying, the need to supply analgesics on a global scale is one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies of our time, although unfortunately it is also one of the most ignored. The rapporteur, Mr Cappato, did not have an easy task with this report and it is thus all the more remarkable, and I again reiterate both my support and that of my Group. As he himself said, although the link between the two issues is not simple, nor necessarily immediate, it is our responsibility as politicians to analyse the complex realities in order to find complex solutions to the complex problems. That is exactly what this report does. As regards security in Afghanistan, there is no doubt that it must be a priority if we want to implement reconstruction and development programmes with future guarantees. The problem, however, is that certain armed groups are funded precisely as a result of the lack of regulation of opium production. We also know that there is illegal cultivation and trafficking of opium, which accounts for 40% of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. In the light of this situation, I think it is appropriate at least to study and take account of initiatives such as those of the Senlis Council, which is proposing a system to authorise the cultivation of opium for medical purposes in Afghanistan. This would focus mainly on the production of painkillers such as morphine and codeine, which could also be sold to other countries that currently have little or no access to these types of vital medicines as a result of preferential trade agreements. It is unfortunate that this proposal, at present and in real terms, does not have stronger support from the Commission or the Afghan Government itself. Even more worrying is the fact that the measures being touted as alternatives often consist of chemical eradication, as stressed over and over again by the US authorities. If this measure were to be carried out, it would give the Taliban a new argument to defend its positions and eventually would most likely result in the farming communities ending up as rebel camps. It would also have very serious health and environmental repercussions. It is clear right from the start that aerial spraying, which is presumably what is proposed for Afghanistan, guarantees that the contamination will extend to the humans who live in the treated areas and surrounding areas. This was demonstrated at the start of year when this practice was used by Colombia to fumigate cocaine production along the border with Ecuador, with the latter consequently taking a complaint and case to The Hague. I am not an expert and obviously this chemical issue is much more complex, but I believe that at this stage we should be well aware of some of the disasters caused by napalm and depleted uranium. We should not repeat this a third time and I hope that we do not."@en1

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