The Interior Ministers of the Western Mediterranean countries, gathered in the 5 +5 group, which convened their 15th meeting on Tuesday in Algiers, have renewed their pledge to fight terrorism and organized Crime, two plagues that are endangering the whole region, especially in the aftermath of the Malian crisis, which has many implications for all the countries in the region.
The 5+5 group mustering the interior ministers of the countries of Southern Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Malta and Portugal) and their counterparts of Maghreb countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), underlined the urgent necessity to coordinate efforts in this struggle and pointed out that strengthening cooperation between the security services of the group members is dictated by the common challenges facing states on both shores of the Mediterranean.
The Interior ministers agreed to work for a “comprehensive” approach to counter-terrorism, based on the rule of law, social justice, fight against poverty, as well as the prevention and settlement of conflicts.
In the Algiers Declaration, which crowned their meeting, the Western Mediterranean countries convened that dialogue and coordination among their security agencies and departments is crucial, especially in this juncture and agreed to enhance cooperation in strengthening border security and struggling against trans-border criminality. In this vein they convened to organize joint patrol operations at their borders, to conduct joint investigations, and to exchange liaison officers.
The Ministers also agreed to exchange information on the activities and movements of organized crime networks, their methods and means of action and funding source and to upgrade cooperation in the fight against trafficking in human beings, especially women and children.
The interior ministers on the other hand decided to pursue the fight against the illicit trafficking of arms, ammunitions and drugs and other psychotropic substances through enhanced monitoring of their maritime, land and air borders.
They likewise agreed to upgrade the security of Internet networks and to fight cybercrime in addition to continuing the fight against counterfeiting.
In his address before the meeting, Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia insisted that counterterrorism efforts must also take into account the “cutting-off” of all financing resources, including ransoms.
After the international community took a series of measures against terrorism financing, criminal and terrorist groups sought other financing means, mainly ransom demands for the release of abducted hostages.
Algeria, which drew lessons from its long and painful fight against terrorism, is against ransom payments to terrorist groups and rather opts for political and legal approaches, the Algerian interior minister said, calling on the international community to criminalize such practice.