Home ministers of western Mediterranean countries vow to fight terrorism
Regional, Politics, 6/22/1999
The home ministers of western Mediterranean countries vowed to fight terrorism whatever its origins, causes or goals are.
The home ministers of Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia who held a one-day meeting in Algiers on Monday adopted the Algiers Declaration wherein they stressed that "the prevention and struggle against terrorism regardless of its origins, causes or goals, are a priority."
The Mediterranean officials underlined that terrorism is "a serious threat to stability, peace and security in the region as well as to democracy, human rights and public and individual freedoms."
The ministers convened to set up cooperation mechanisms to enhance struggle against all forms of organized crime, mainly drug, arms and explosives trafficking, stolen vehicles smuggling, money laundering, counterfeiting and cyber-criminality.
Regarding the movement of persons and illegal emigration, the officials underlined the special importance of human exchanges between the two banks of the Mediterranean and called for addressing the issue in the frame of "a comprehensive, concerted and balanced approach."
They stressed the need to protect the rights and dignity of the communities legally settled in host countries, to protect them from xenophobia and racism and to secure their social and cultural integration while seeing to the respect of the difference.
The eight Mediterranean ministers also stressed, in matters of civilians' rescue operation in case of natural hazards, the importance of cooperation and mutual assistance as "fundamental tools to assess and reduce risks and elaborate efficient policies of prevention and struggle against natural or technological hazards.
The Algiers Declaration underscored the need to enlarge the scope of cooperation to local councils and to foster the exchange of experience in matters of administrative reforms, urban management, environment protection, improvement of services and living conditions at large.
The interior ministers from the western Mediterranean area have been holding the security conference annually since 1995. The next meeting, the sixth, will take place in Portugal in 2000.Libya which attended the meeting for the first time this year after the United Nations suspended sanctions against Tripoli on April 5 when it surrendered for trial two suspects accused of the 1988 bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, was admitted as member of the conference.
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