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Manning tackles terrorism in Mexico

Clint Chan Tack Friday, May 28 2004

PRIME MINISTER Patrick Manning will tackle the burning issues of terrorism and crime at today’s Third Summit of Heads of State of Government of the European Union and of Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The summit will be attended by the leaders of 58 countries from Latin America and the EU and is the third of its kind, with previous summits being held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1999 and Madrid (Spain) in 2002.

At the Madrid summit, several declarations were made with two of the most important being in the areas of terrorism and crime. According to a statement issued by EU-LAC, nations at the end of that summit resolved: “To combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations  which threatens our democratic systems, liberties and development, as well as international peace and security in accordance with the UN Charter and with full respect for international law, including human rights and humanitarian law provisions. We are committed to strengthening our political, legal and operational mechanisms and to promote the conclusion of, and adherence to, all international conventions relating to terrorism and the implementation of UN resolutions on the matter.”

At Madrid, EU-LAC nations also resolved: “To combat the scourges of illicit drugs and related crimes, corruption and organised crime, by enhancing co-ordination mechanisms, combating the sources of funding of drug production and trafficking, and preventing their use in the financing of terrorism and criminal activities.” On Wednesday, the Prime Minister highlighted the creation of a new military helicopter unit, the installation of a hi-tech radar system and the purchase of two offshore patrol vessels as some of the ways in which Government is addressing the issues of crime and terrorism. Last December, Manning held discussions in Washington DC with US President George W Bush on both of these issues.

Haiti will also be on the frontburner at today’s summit. In 2002, EU-LAC nations demanded an increase in efforts to reinforce democracy in Haiti. Caricom has called for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the ouster of Haitian president Jean Bertrand-Aristide in February. Manning said TT soldiers would be deployed as part of a UN multinational peacekeeping force to replace other foreign troops currently in Haiti.

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