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Interpol European Regional Conference starts in Cyprus
2005-05-25 13:57:55

Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) – Senior police officers, law enforcement officials and security experts from European police forces began discussing here today ways to improve cooperation on handling major public order operations and on combating terrorism and international crime.

Chief of Cyprus Police force Tasos Panayiotou told the conference that Ankara's unwillingness to cooperate with Cyprus through Interpol creates problems to the work of the international organization as a whole.

In his speech at the opening ceremony of Interpol’s 34th annual European Regional Conference, Police Chief Panayiotou said that after Cyprus' accession to the European Union cooperation with European countries has intensified.

However, he noted, in spite of Cyprus' repeated calls for cooperation, there is still a problem between the National Central Bureaus of Ankara and Nicosia.

Panayiotou pointed out that Turkey has ignored arrest warrants issued by the Cyprus Police, through Europol and Interpol, against suspects for the murder of Turkish Cypriot businessman Elmas Ali Guzelyurtlu, his wife and their daughter. Ankara has refused to hand them over to the Cypriot authorities, he added.

Referring to the challenges police face, the Chief of Police said that ''organized crime, terrorism, drugs, money laundering and many other offences, both at a national and international level, constitute today the biggest threat to European and other societies'', adding that ''co-operation among us and the creation of mutual confidence and comprehension are imperative in view of the dangers threatening humanity''.

Minister of Justice and Public Order Doros Theodorou, in his address read by Permanent Secretary of the ministry Anreas Tryfonides, said that Cyprus is a member of Interpol since 1961 and has contributed to many cases and has participated in many police missions in other countries in efforts to tackle international crime.

''It is clear that police co-operation in Europe is well-developed, and there exists within Europe and within the European Union a clear commitment to work together and develop common strategies and tools to tackle organized crime and terrorism,'' Interpol President Jackie Selebi said in his opening address.

“It is, however, equally important that in our discussions over the coming days we look beyond the European region and think about the global dimension of the issues and threats facing us”, he added.

Responding to questions on cooperation among Interpol members, Selebi said that the cases in which there hasn't been adequate police cooperation between different agencies indicate that ''we need to do a little bit more as an organization''.

He noted that to make sure that cooperation takes place Interpol uses methods such as persuasion and will continue to work towards ensuring that at some point there is better cooperation.

Responding to a question on bio-terrorism, he said Interpol needs to be prepared for every eventuality, and in this case it does so through training on how to combat, detect and prevent such a disaster.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble called on member countries to make full use of the organization’s National Central Bureaus (NCBs) around the world.

''National Central Bureaus can play a leadership role in their national police structure by providing expert advice on how to best use Interpol services,” Noble said. ''The NCBs are key to Interpol’s success…This conference provides an opportunity to have an open and frank discussion about how the organization can help each of them to realise their full potential''.

Delegates to the Nicosia conference will discuss planning for major public order operations in the European region, which has hosted several significant international sporting events during the past 12 months, including the Olympic Games and Euro 2004 football championships. Security for such events requires high levels of trans-border police co-operation, which can be facilitated through Interpol’s National Central Bureaus.

The three-day meeting in Cyprus brings together senior police officers, law enforcement officials and security experts from 44 member countries in the European region.

More than 125 delegates will focus on issues such as terrorism, stolen travel documents, trafficking in human beings, child pornography on the Internet and high tech crime. A key issue will be increased use of Interpol’s databases and expanded national police access to the organization’s sophisticated global police communications system, I-24/7, in order to fight trans-border crime.

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