United States President Donald Trump on Monday opened the high-level meet of the United Nations General Assembly in New York with an event focusing on tackling the world drug problem.
Delivering the inaugural address at the event, Trump acknowledged the growing menace and vouched to stand united in fighting the same.
“It is a great honour to address you on an issue that affects every nation across the globe: the world drug problem. And a big problem it is. The scourge of drug addiction continues to claim too many lives in the United States and in nations around the world. Today, we commit to fighting the drug epidemic together,” he said.
Furthermore, Trump highlighted a record increase in the production of cocaine and opium and an increase of 60 per cent in deaths resulting from the consumption of drugs.
“As the 2018 World Drug Report highlights, cocaine and opium production have hit record highs – incredibly – and global deaths caused by drug use have increased by 60 per cent from the year 2000 to 2015. So, in 15 years, it has gone up by 60 per cent, which is absolutely terrible,” Trump said.
Calling for stern action against increasing drug addiction, Trump said, “As we know, illicit drugs are linked to organised crime, illegal financial flows, corruption, and terrorism. It’s vital for public health and national security that we fight drug addiction and stop all forms of trafficking and smuggling that provide the financial lifeblood for vicious transnational cartels. In the United States, we’re taking aggressive action, securing our border, supporting law enforcement, devoting record funding to the opioid crisis, and promoting treatment and recovery.”
The US President also congratulated newly-elected Columbian President Ivan Duque and praised him for the action taken against drug menace.
“Many nations here today are also taking bold action. Newly elected President Duque, Colombia, campaigned on an anti-drug platform and won a very, very impressive victory. Congratulations. We look forward to partnering with his new administration to eradicate coca production in his country. All of us must work together to dismantle drug production and defeat drug addiction,” he added.
Speaking on the US’ initiative “Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem,” Trump said, “The call is simple: reduce drug demand; cut off the supply of illicit drugs; expand treatment; and strengthen international cooperation. If we take these steps together, we can save the lives of countless people in all corners of the world. And when I say countless, I’m talking about millions and millions of people.”
“I’m thrilled that every country in the room today has agreed to answer our call, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to this important initiative,” he added.
The session was attended by leaders from across the world, including India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj.
Also present at the event were United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Trump is slated to address the UNGA on Tuesday and is scheduled to chair the world body’s Security Council meeting on Wednesday.