Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner will head the U.S. delegation to the Third Regular Session of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), which will take place in El Salvador January 22-24, 2003.
The conference agenda is designed to build on the momentum created by the adoption in June 2002 of the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, the first international legal instrument against terrorism adopted since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The meeting will expand the cooperative counterterrorism efforts undertaken thus far in the hemisphere and result in formal recommendations on counterterrorism issues to the Special Conference on Hemispheric Security planned for May.
CICTE, currently chaired by the United States, is a technical body of the Organization of American States, whose basic objective is to foster multilateral cooperation in the form of training and information sharing among member nations to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism. On January 22, heads of delegations will discuss current and propose cooperative measures and emerging terrorist threats. The discussion will shape CICTE’s future counterterrorism activities and programs.
The United States will make a presentation on cyber security as an emerging threat and is organizing presentations on regional cooperation involving border security. Commissioner Bonner’s participation as head of the delegation reflects the United States’ interest in developing a regional strategy to improve border security and disrupt terrorist operations throughout the Hemisphere by staunching illegal trafficking in weapons, narcotics, money, and people – all without inhibiting free trade and legitimate travel. The U.S. Customs Service also leads Operation Green Quest, the interagency body created to investigate money laundering and terrorist financing cases.
“CICTE is in the business of making the Hemisphere inhospitable to terrorists who seek opportunities to advance their cause, and the United States applauds it as an institution that will continue this vital work,” Commissioner Bonner said about the upcoming conference. “Our cooperative efforts and investments to strengthen border controls, financial controls and weapons controls do more than defend ourselves against terrorists; they serve to reduce transnational crime of all sorts.”