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Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 02:14 GMT 03:14 UK
US thrown off second UN body
US anti-drugs operation in Columbia
America plays a "dominant role" in narcotics control
By Mike Donkin in New York

The United States has been voted off a worldwide body which monitors drugs manufacture and illicit drugs trading.

It lost its seat on the International Narcotics Control Board in a secret ballot by members of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) - the same organisation which earlier voted the US off the UN's Human Rights Commission.

The International Narcotics Board monitors the manufacture and sale of opium derivatives like morphine, stimulants, and other drugs which can be illegally exploited.

It also seeks to prevent drug trafficking.

'Regrettable'

The United Sates has been represented on the board since 1997 by Herbert Okun - one of its leading diplomats. But Ecosoc decided to deny him a third term.

The US has called this rejection "very regrettable".

Former US Drugs Tsar Barry McCaffrey said America played a "dominant role" in narcotics control, and its absence from the board would be felt by the rest of the world.

This setback for the US comes on top of losing its Human Rights Commission seat through a vote by the same UN body.

A State Department official said: "There's clearly something happening out there" - but would not comment further.

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03 May 01 | Americas
US thrown off UN rights body
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