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America to help Maldives battle drugs, arms

The pact will boost the nation's ability to combat illegal drug and arms trafficking through a state-of-the-art customs communications system.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 18:58 IST

The US and the Maldives signed an agreement on Wednesday that will significantly boost the latter's ability to combat illegal drug and arms trafficking through a state-of-the-art customs communications system.

The agreement enables the Maldives to participate in the Customs Asia Pacific Enforcement Report System (CAPERS).

The secure network allows participating customs administrations to communicate instantly on national security and anti-terrorism issues.

There are currently 25 countries participating in the network in various locations in the Pacific, the Caribbean and North America.

Jeffrey Lunstead, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, explained: "The commerce that links our two nations must be protected from illegal trade, narcotics smuggling and terrorism. CAPERS will help strengthen and safeguard our trade relationship."

Allen Gina of the US Customs and Border Protection agency and Ibrahim Rashad, the minister of state and principal collector of customs, signed the agreement.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 11:33 IST