President George W. Bush’s press secretary released the following statement on March 1, 2001, stating that 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries were fully cooperating with the United States or taking adequate action to be in compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Acting on recommendations from the Secretary of State, President Bush today sent to the Congress his annual certification determinations with respect to the current list of major illicit drug-producing and drug-transit countries.
Under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended, the United States is required to impose substantial restrictions on bilateral assistance (other than specified categories of humanitarian and law enforcement assistance) to majors list countries unless, not later than March 1st of each year, the President makes certain determinations with respect to these countries and certifies them to the Congress. The current list of major illicit drug-producing and drug-transit countries was developed and notified to the Congress in November 2000.
The President may determine that a majors list country is cooperating fully with the United States, or has taken adequate steps on its own, to achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In reaching this determination, the President is required to consider each country’s performance in areas such as stemming illicit cultivation, extraditing drug traffickers, and taking legal steps and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption that facilitates drug trafficking or impedes prosecution of drug-related crimes. The President must also consider efforts taken by these countries to stop the production and export of, and reduce the domestic demand for, illegal drugs.
President Bush certified that 20 of the 24 countries on the majors list have cooperated fully with United States, or have taken adequate steps on their own, to achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. These countries are: The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
The President may also determine and certify to the Congress that the vital national interests of the United States require that a country be certified — even if that country does not meet the criteria for a certification based on either full cooperation with the United States, or taking adequate steps on its own, to achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The basis for such a determination is that our vital national interests require that the assistance that otherwise would be withheld be provided to the country under review. Two countries were certified on this basis: Cambodia and Haiti.
The President did not certify two countries that failed to meet the statutory standard: Afghanistan and Burma. This determination results in substantial restrictions on most types of U.S. assistance to these countries, other than humanitarian and law enforcement assistance. The FAA also states that the United States must vote against loans to these two countries by any of six specified multilateral development banks.
A statement of explanation for each of the determinations with respect to the majors list countries is appended to the President’s notification to the Congress.