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Myanmar-US agree anti-drugs pact

Myanmar and the United States have taken another step toward closer relations by agreeing to work together on counter-narcotics operations.

Myanmar authorities conduct opium poppy eradication efforts in southern Shan State in February 2012. (Photo: UNODC)Speaking to reporters, US Ambassador Derek Mitchell said that the agreement “is another step forward in our overall relationship.”

According to state-run The New Light of Myanmar, Mitchell ratified the agreement with Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyitaw on Thursday.

Under the agreement, Myanmar and the US will resume a joint opium yield survey in early 2013 before re-establishing “channels of cooperation” on counter-narcotics issues, The New Light of Myanmar said, adding that the program would address opium production and trafficking.

Under Myanmar’s former military government, anti-drugs operations were suspended in 2004 with the junta frequently cited as complicit in the drugs trade.

Myanmar is the world's second-largest producer of opium after Afghanistan, accounting for about 25 percent of global poppy production, according to United Nations data.

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