Mediterranean states adopt joint security strategy
By Walid Ramzi in Algiers and Jemal Oumar in Nouakchott for Magharebia – 10/04/2013
Interior ministers of the ten Mediterranean countries on Tuesday (April 9th) proposed ways to co-operate in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration.
Meeting in Algiers for a "5+5 Dialogue" session, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia, Spain, France, Italy, Malta and Portugal discussed a "comprehensive" approach based on the rule of law, social justice and conflict resolution.
The two-day gathering ended with a call to improve border controls and "prohibit wherever possible...the payment of ransom to terrorists groups... in order to dry up the sources of terrorism financing".
The ministers also emphasised the importance of "uniting efforts to combat cybercrime as an engine for the spread of terrorism".
Algerian Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia, who had insisted on the body's anti-ransom position, told his peers that international efforts to dry up the sources of terrorist financing had "forced criminal groups to look for other ways" to fund their activities, including kidnappings.
Ould Kablia reiterated Algeria's rejection of negotiating with terrorists. The response to the In Amenas gas plant attack last January was intentionally strong, he said, in order to prevent similar attacks in the future.
"Any terrorist who wants to attack Algeria has only two options: surrender or death," he said.
For his part, Libyan Interior Minister Ashour Shuwail lauded the security co-ordination between his country and Algeria in securing the border, which he said "has produced major results".
Shuwail said that Libya was "not a source of danger", adding that the situation along the border was "largely controlled, thanks to co-operation with neighbouring countries".
Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou also noted recent security co-ordination with Algeria to combat terror group activity near the border.
Meanwhile, Moroccan Interior Minister Mohamed Laenser reiterated a strong desire to strengthen bilateral relations between his country and Algeria.
"One of the most important developments in this meeting is that it brought together Algeria and Morocco at the same table," Mauritanian journalist Zain Al-Abidin Ould Mohamed said.
"It should make them feel that security challenges must be above all other considerations," Ould Mohamed added.
Subscribe to our newsletter and get Magharebia's latest articles delivered to your inbox.