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Press Release

Contact: Tom Riley / Brian Blake 202–395–6618
April 23, 2002

John Walters to Appear with Senators to Highlight ATPA'S Importance in Reducing Drug Trafficking and Promoting Democracy and Economic Stability in South America

Washington, D.C. — John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy, will appear with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) to discuss the importance of quick action by the Senate to pass the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA).

"Now that the House has voted, the Senate should act quickly," said Walters. "The passage of ATPA reiterates our commitment to helping the Andean region develop economic alternatives to drug crop production. We know that drug production in this region is tied to our country's demand for these poisonous substances. But as we work to cut the demand for drugs in the United States, we must support our southern neighbors in their efforts to build their economies and promote democracy."

"ATPA simultaneously furthers two important policy goals: stimulating legitimate economic growth while destabilizing the drug trade," Walters continued. "To make progress in the fight against illegal drug production we must provide alternative and expanded job opportunities to support economic growth and democratic institutions in the Andean region. For the past ten years, ATPA has been a powerful trade tool in the fight against illicit drug production and trafficking by successfully helping our Andean allies, including Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, develop legitimate commercial exports as alternatives to the illegal drug industry-an industry that supplies Colombia's leading terrorist group, the FARC, with over $300 million a year."

Who: John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy,
Senators Hagel (R-NE), McCain (R-AZ), Graham (D-FL)
What: News Conference to Urge Passage of ATPA
When: Tuesday, April 23rd, 11:30am
Where: Senate Dirksen 215 (Finance Committee Hearing Room)

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