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Lavrov: U.S. Afghan Policy Stokes HIV/AIDS Problem

Russian Foregn Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foregn Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the United States was aggravating the HIV/AIDS problem in Russia and the rest of Europe by refusing to use its forces to destroy opium crops in Afghanistan.

Lavrov made the comment at a conference opening in Moscow today on communicable diseases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

He said, "We must fight not only the use but also the spread of drugs."

Afghanistan is the world's top producer of poppies used to make opium, the key ingredient in heroin production.

Russia faces an HIV/AIDS epidemic that is spreading from shared needles among injecting drug users.

The United States has phased out crop eradication efforts to focus instead on intercepting drugs and hunting production operations and drug lords.

It said it made the change because drug crop eradication was putting farmers out of work, sowing resentment against foreign intervention.

compiled from agency reports

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