Bridging the divide on both sides of the Middle East conflict, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has brought together senior officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority to discuss cooperation on combating drug trafficking and related criminal activities, the Scoop independent news agency in New Zealand reported.

“Both sides agreed to cooperate and coordinate their activities to combat this threat to security, democratic development and political stability, with the UNODC Regional Office facilitating the process,” the Vienna-based agency said in a statement.
 
A first meeting took place in the Cairo premises of the UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa at the end of last month, focusing on the growth in illicit activities related to drug trafficking in the region.
 
This is bringing increased profits to local and international criminal gangs which could be used for other illicit activities, including terrorism and arms smuggling.
 
The two delegations agreed to cooperate at all levels in their efforts to control drugs and related criminal activities. A joint declaration was approved outlining the establishment of mechanisms for strengthening cross-border cooperation and controls.
 
The two also encouraged the UNODC Regional Office to continue its work to promote dialogue between the relevant agencies and to mobilize support for the Palestinian drug authorities in terms of institution-building and training.
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