Arab states meet on anti-terror security procedures

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

CAIRO The Arab League has launched a drive to unify member efforts against insurgency and organized crime.

Officials said Arab countries have sought to increase cooperation against organized crime and insurgency as part of the U.S.-led war against terrorism and a drive to woo foreign investors to the Middle East. The counterinsurgency drive has been coordinated with Arab League interior ministers and information ministers.

The issue was discussed during a meeting by Arab League justice ministers in Cairo on Tuesday, Middle East Newsline reported. In a meeting of the executive, the justice ministers reviewed measures for joint investigation and extradition to improve coordination against organized crime and insurgency. The executive consists of justice ministers from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria.

In a meeting chaired by Egyptian Justice Minister Farouq Seif Nasser, the ministers expressed support for expanded cooperation with Arab interior ministers in the anti-crime campaign. They also pledged to increase cooperation and coordination with regional and international law enforcement agencies.

The Arab League campaign against organized crime and insurgency includes a drive to standardize Arab penal law and procedures. The justice ministers also discussed the introduction of information technology to help in the location of suspects.

In 1998, Arab League members signed an agreement for cooperation against terrorism. Several members, including Syria, said they have insisted that terrorism does not include attacks on civilians in Israel.

In a communique that ended their meeting, the justice ministers expressed support for Iraq and voiced hope that it will establish a legal system in wake of the downfall of the regime of President Saddam Hussein. The ministers offered to help Iraq in the effort.

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