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Monday, September 25, 2006

New intelligence bureau in Qatar to combat narcotics

Vienna, 25 Sept. (AKI) - The government of Qatar has pledged ten million dollars for a state-of-the-art criminal intelligence centre to help countries in the Gulf combat drug trafficking, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday. The UNODC, based in Vienna, will provide technical help for the centre in Doha, which is expected to become operational by mid-2007. The new centre is intended to help law enforcement authorities in the region share real-time operational intelligence and improve their ability to arrest drug traffickers.

UNODC director general Antonio Maria Costa signed an agreement with Sheikh Abdulla Bin Nasser Bin Kahlifa Al-Thani, Qatar's minister of state for internal affairs. Speaking afterwards he praised the Qatari government, saying its involvement was particularly timely after the alarming upsurge in Afghan opium production this year.

The Qatari pledge consists of 4.5 million dollars to create the centre and a further 5.5 million in-kind contribution towards the facilities and the building.

In May of this year, a new Global Sports Fund was inaugurated in Doha with funding of 2.5 million dollars which will be used to encourage young people around the world to get involved in sport rather than being drawn into drugs and crime.
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