HC Deb 12 April 1989 vol 150 c889
1. Mr. Stern

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the east European route for the supply of drugs has now been closed.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Timothy Eggar)

Relatively small, but increasing quantities of illicit drugs continue to reach the United Kingdom via eastern Europe. We are developing our co-operation with the Governments concerned to combat drug trafficking.

Mr. Stern

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that although the situation remains far from satisfactory, efforts are being made to block that route, and the only way that that will be achieved will be by the continuation of intergovernmental co-operation?

Mr. Eggar

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. There are a number of routes through eastern Europe into western Europe, mainly for drugs originating in Afghanistan or the neighbouring countries. We now have close co-operation with a number of eastern European Governments, particularly the Soviet authorities, as a result of which Operation Diplomat recently led to a large seizure of cannabis.

Mr. Ron Brown

Have not the east European, Soviet and Afghan authorities done a great deal to clamp down on this evil trade? It must be remembered, as the Minister said, that most of the drugs come from Afghanistan, thus providing additional resources for the Mujaheddin whom, ironically, the Government support.

Mr. Eggar

As usual, the hon. Gentleman has a skewed view. of the world. I have already said that there is close co-operation with the Soviet authorities and with other Governments in the fight against drugs, and that is how it should be. We shall not defeat the threat from drugs unless all Governments combine against it.