Serbia, US sign drug control agreement

BELGRADE -- The Serbian ministers of Interior and Justice have signed with US Ambassador agreement on cooperation in drug control and law enforcement.


The Serbian ministers of Interior and Justice, Nebojsa Stefanovic and Nikola Selakovic have signed with US Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby a Serbia-US agreement on cooperation in drug control and law enforcement to improve the work of the judiciary and the police in the fight against organized crime.

With USD 3.1 million, the US will fund a five-project programme aimed at strengthening the criminal judiciary system, the work of institutions and their staff.

Addressing a press conference after the signing of the agreement on Monday, Stetanovic said that the diverse projects would strengthen the capabilities of the judiciary and enhance the work of the Interior Ministry.

"Education, tuition fees, scholarships and training will be provided to police officers, which will make the police force much more efficient in fighting organized crime," Stefanovic said.

The agreement is the first of its kind between Serbia and the United States, and it will contribute to improved ties between the two countries, he said.

The Minister of Justice said that the five projects would take the criminal judiciary system to a higher level, with the fight against organised crime and corruption set to improve as well.

"Criminal proceedings are under way against some big fish - on one side, there are tycoons who can invest enormous amounts of money in their defence, and on the other side, there is a state that cannot respond in the same way. This agreement creates conditions for taking the criminal judiciary system and prosecution to a much higher level," Selakovic said.

The US ambassador said that the US government had provided more than USD 30 million in aid to Serbia over the past ten years for programmes in this field.

’’In the next few months, FBI agents will visit Serbia, which will be another way of assisting institution building’’, Kirby said.

’’They want to come to Serbia and cooperate because they know that professionals who want to cooperate in maintaining global peace work in Serbia - it is a major thing and a sign of recognition’’, Kirby said, congratulating the Serbian Interior Ministry on its professionalism.