MADRID, 26 May (2006) - Foreign Ministers from West and Central Africa, meeting in Madrid, agreed on Friday on a political declaration and a plan of action to improve terrorism prevention.
The Ministerial round-table, organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with the support of the Government of Spain, met on 25 and 26 May to strengthen national and sub-regional counter-terrorism efforts and to identify areas for further action, particularly in bolstering the legal regime against terrorism.
They agreed a declaration reaffirming the commitment of 27 countries from West and Central Africa to ratify and implement all universal instruments against terrorism. The Ministers and senior officials also pledged to enhance co-operation to prevent and combat terrorism.
In a message delivered on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Executive Director of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Committee, Javier Ruperez, said the two-day meeting was an excellent example of the steps countries and regions need to take to unite against terrorism.
Through its support for the event, the Government of Spain had again demonstrated its constructive commitment to the fight against terrorism, he said.
Noting the no country or region is immune from the threat of terrorism, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa stressed that preventing and combating terrorism requires trans-border co-operation, in areas such as sharing intelligence, providing mutual legal assistance, or extradition.
He urged states, in line with the Plan of Action, to translate legal commitments into practice at the international and sub-regional level. Mr. Costa observed that this may require new skills or the upgrading of existing capacity, for example in law enforcement, criminal justice or improving financial intelligence and anti-money laundering. "UNODC is at your disposal" he told the Ministers.
The Ministers identified a number of areas where they would welcome technical assistance from UNODC, particularly in the training of criminal justice officials and harmonization of national laws to international standards.
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