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Uniting against terrorism.

THE COUNTRIES OF the Americas must continue to build a "culture of cooperation" if they are to develop effective anti-terrorism strategies, Acting Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi told a meeting of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

"No one country has all of the answers to improving the security of our citizens against the threats posed by terrorists, who seek to exploit the rules of civilized society," Einaudi said. Noting that all thirty-four OAS member states have signed the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism and twelve have ratified it, he called for the remaining countries to seek to ratify the treaty as soon as possible, and also to bring their own national legislation into harmony with its provisions.

The high-level meeting, held last February, was chaired by Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of National Security, Martin Joseph, who was elected to lead the inter-American counter-terrorism body during the coming year.

In the Declaration of Port-of-Spain, the member states renewed their commitment to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its origin or motivation." They said terrorism is exacerbated by money laundering, illicit trafficking in drugs and arms, and other forms of transnational crime.

The member states called for urgent measures to strengthen cooperation and information exchange "with the aim of locating, capturing, prosecuting, and punishing the sponsors, organizers, and perpetrators of terrorist acts, as well as of identifying and freezing assets and resources used to facilitate, promote, or commit such acts." They also affirmed the need to support cooperation on cross-border management, improve the security and integrity of official documents, develop ways to rapidly disseminate warnings about cybersecurity threats, and intensify efforts to disrupt the capacity of terrorist networks to threaten safe travel and recreation in the member states, among other measures.

During the meeting, the head of the U.S. delegation, then-Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, announced that the United States would contribute an additional $1.6 million to CICTE, bringing to $5 million its contributions since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In thanking the United States, Joseph noted that implementing CICTE's ambitious and expanding work plan will require continued political, human, and financial support from the member states.

Janelle Conaway is an editor with the OAS Office of Public Information.
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Author:Conaway, Janelle
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
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