1. Alfa

    Germany has signaled its willingness to help Thailand eradicate the
    production of opium in the Golden Triangle.

    Germany's Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Health
    and Social Security toured the Drug Rehabilitation Center in Chiang Mai and
    said she was willing to cooperate with Thailand to help eradicate the drug

    As part of an official visit to observe Thailand's drug suppression and
    AIDS operation and prevention, Marion Caspers-Merk visited the
    rehabilitation center of the Public Health Ministry in Mae Rim district on
    October 7.

    Pittaya Jinawatra, director Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB),
    Northern Region and Dr Thirawat Wongtan, director of the Drug
    Rehabilitation Center, welcomed her.

    Germany has previously assisted Thailand in attempting to solve the problem
    of opium plantations, through the Thai-German Highland Development Program
    for 17 years, and still maintains an interest in the government's "War on

    Pittaya said that the state secretary had shown keen interest in the ONCB's
    joint work in drug suppression with neighboring Myanmar and Laos,
    particularly a project called "Yong Kha" that had been initiated in Myanmar.

    The German government was also interested in AIDS prevention and operations
    in Thailand, following the recent International AIDS Conference, Pittaya said.

    German economic support to fight drugs had been reduced after the Thai
    economy strengthened, but it might resume increased assistance after this
    official visit, Pittaya predicted.

    Germany, with a population of 80 million, had 100,000 drug addicts. It was
    not clear whether most of the drugs came from Thailand as other countries
    such as China were suspected of being a primary source of drugs coming from
    Myanmar, she said.


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