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22 October 2002 - Media release

UN chief wants closer cooperation with INTERPOL

'INTERPOL plays a unique and invaluable role in fostering cooperation and promoting the rule of law in keeping with the highest ideals of the United Nations', UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan said in a message to INTERPOL's 71st General Assembly, a worldwide international law enforcement event gathering over 450 senior police chiefs from 139 member countries this week in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The UN chief said he looked forward to 'ever closer cooperation between INTERPOL and the United Nations, not least in the global struggle against terrorism.'

Addressing the general assembly plenary, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble responded to Mr Annan's message in stating that 'the new INTERPOL is now constantly readying itself to respond not only to terrorism but to any serious crime threat requiring a swift, coordinated and comprehensive worldwide response.'

'Over the last year we have reshaped INTERPOL's general secretariat and approach based on the lessons learned from our anti-terrorism fight. We have put a new structure and policy into action and have in the process demonstrated again and again that we are not the same INTERPOL as before September 11, 2001, Mr Noble added.

'The new INTERPOL is getting stronger each and every day. We are more aggressive, we are more alert and most importantly, we are more responsive to the needs of our many member countries', INTERPOL's Secretary General affirmed.

In his greetings to the INTERPOL general assembly UN Secretary General Annan described INTERPOL as the foremost international organization tasked with tackling transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, corruption and terrorism and helping its Member States to improve their efforts to combat crime. As such 'INTERPOL is making a daily, concrete contribution to our common goal of protecting the security and human rights of all', he said.

Mr Annan recalled that the UN has dedicated many years to defining universal rules on due process and improving criminal justice systems. This effort is based on the conviction that justice will be lasting only where there is a professional police service that acts impartially, fairly, with integrity and in the interest of the public, with absolute and rigorous respect for basic human rights'.