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20 August 2014

INTERPOL workshop in Kuala Lumpur marks launch of regional counter-terrorism programme

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – More than 40 senior law enforcement and border security officials from countries across Southeast Asia have gathered in Kuala Lumpur to attend a workshop marking the launch of a three-year INTERPOL counter-terrorism programme in the region.

Supported by the Canadian and Australian governments, the meeting (13-15 August) provided an opportunity to discuss the strategies underpinning the programme which will support security officials across Southeast Asia through training and operational components, including information sharing.

“Terrorism today is transnational, and the role played by INTERPOL against it must be intensified and its importance recognized by enforcement agencies throughout the world. To counter terrorism, whether regionally or globally, cooperation is no longer vital but mandatory,” said Senior Assistant Commissioner Ayob Khan Bin Mydin Pitchay, Principal Assistant Director of Malaysia’s Counter-Terrorism Special Branch, at the launch of INTERPOL’s programme.

The Director of INTERPOL’s Counter-Terrorism, Public Safety and Maritime Security Directorate, Pierre St Hilaire, said the workshop was a vital opportunity to further enhance international police cooperation throughout the ASEAN region against terrorism. In this respect he strongly welcomed the contributions and trans-regional exchange of trends and responses made by external experts attending the workshop.

“The combined efforts of this and other programmes will focus on improving counter-terrorism investigations by enhancing networks of information exchange and fostering international collaboration amongst law enforcement agencies in the ASEAN region,” said Mr St Hilaire.

Among the senior officials speaking at the opening ceremony, the High Commissioner of Canada to Malaysia, Judith St George, thanked INTERPOL for its initiatives in the region. “Terrorism is a threat from which no nation is immune. We must all work together to protect not just our national interests and security, but also our regional security as well as that of the wider world. Information and intelligence remain critical to all counter-terrorism efforts,” said Canada’s High Commissioner.

The Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to Malaysia, Jane Duke, said that that Australia was pleased to support INTERPOL’s work in information sharing in tackling transnational crime in the region, considering ‘the ever-changing, global nature of crime’.

Agencies represented at the event included ASEANAPOL, the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Customs Organization. The workshop also included specialist officers from the Australian Federal Police, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.