Peru Expects 80 Countries To Participate In Drug Summit

Authorities from about 80 countries plan to participate in an anti-drugs summit that Peru is to host in June, a top Peruvian official said.

Carmen Masias, the head of Peru’s anti-drug agency Devida, said the summit will be held from June 25 to 26, state news agency Andina reported.

“We hope that 70 or 80 countries will participate,” Masias said. “At this moment, we are working closely with the prime minister’s office and the Foreign Relations Ministry to prepare for this large high-level event.”

Masias said that countries will seek to establish better measures for combating the drug trade and exchange experiences on alternative development programs.

The European Union, United States and a number of countries in the Organization of American States are supporting the summit.

Peru is one of the world’s top producers of cocaine, along with Colombia. Most of Peru’s cocaine is shipped to markets in Western Europe as well as emerging markets, like Brazil, while a large amount of the Colombian drug goes to the United States.

Some authorities and ex-presidents in Latin America have called for a debate over legalizing drugs, in an attempt to combat powerful, violent criminal organizations that control the multi-billion dollar illicit trade. Masias said recently that Peru would not support the legalization of drugs.

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