US and Colombia mayors urge cooperation on drugs
New York — The idea is to hold an international conference of mayors on the issue of drugs, convened here by two mayors who know a lot about the topic. Mayor-elect Andres Pastrana of Bogot'a, Colombia - the capital of the country at the center of cocaine production - and Mayor Edward Koch of New York - dubbed the capital of consumption with 80,000 drug arrests last year - met in April to discuss ways the two cities can grapple with the problem together.
Mr. Pastrana, who was kidnapped and held for a week by cocaine traffickers during his campaign, has emphasized the demand-side of drugs, basing much of his mayoral campaign on fighting drug abuse. Mayor Koch, at least in the short-run, wants to attack the supply-side. He has been outspoken in criticizing Colombia, and has suggested that the US cut aid to countries where drugs are produced.
``My sense is that the mayors agreed that the problem needs to be addressed at both ends,'' says Luis Miranda, special adviser to Koch on Hispanic affairs. ``But they don't agree on emphasis.''
But Pastrana, who takes office in June, and Koch did agree that more mayors should be talking to and working with each other. And Koch enthusiastically endorsed the idea of an international conference.
Plans for a 1989 meeting are still at an early stage. Several issues have yet to be decided. Koch initially called for global participation. Pastrana prefers to keep it to North and South America. Who to invite and how to fund the conference are at issue.