• U.S. names 22 countries as major drug producers, traders

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    WASHINGTON:  The United States had listed 22 Middle Eastern and Central American countries as major drug-producing and trafficking states, the U.S. State Department said in a release.

    “This year’s list consists of 22 countries: Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela,” the release read on Monday.

    Earlier on Monday, President Barack Obama notified Congress under the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FRAA) about those countries his administration has marked as remaining drug producers or traffickers.

    However, a country being placed on the list does not reflect its counter-narcotic efforts or levels of cooperation with the United States on illegal drug control, the release acknowledged.

    Of the 22 countries on the list, Obama noted that Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela have “failed demonstrably” during the previous 12 months to make efforts to obey obligations under international counter-narcotics deals.

    The U.S. State Department explained that a “failed demonstrably” designation could lead to United States imposing sanctions on a country.

    Obama also stated that the continued push for democracy in Burma and Venezuela is so important to U.S. national interests that he gave the two countries national interest waivers. PNA/Sputnik

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