OSCE high-level regional conference on countering terrorist financing and organized crime hosted in Turkmenistan

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ASHGABAT, Some 200 representatives of Central Asian and other OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, as well as experts from international organizations, attended today in Ashgabat an OSCE high-level regional conference on countering terrorist financing and organized crime.

The two-day conference was organized by the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, the OSCE Transnational Threats Department (TNTD) and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA), in co-operation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Finance and Economy Ministry of Turkmenistan.

The event brought together representatives and senior experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and other OSCE participating States, Partners for Co-operation and relevant international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

Attacks around the world demonstrate that terrorist groups are still in a position to access financial resources, said OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger. He said that building the capacity of financial oversight and regulatory systems, as well as of prosecutorial and judicial authorities, is tremendously important. I am confident that high-level discussions will help strengthen regional approaches to countering terrorist financing and, at the same time, give fresh impetus to evolving discussions at the global level.

The conference is aimed at fostering regional co-operation among the Central Asian States in addressing this serious challenge to security and exploring potential links with organized crime through discussions and exchange of good practices related to countering terrorist financing and misuse of new internet technologies by organized crime.

Turkmenistan attaches special attention to international co-operation and is actively interacting with the United Nations, OSCE, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism EAG and other organizations in the area of countering terrorist financing, said Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan Sylap Velbegov. We intend to further enhance our engagement as the country has applied for joining the Egmont Group, which will foster the efficient exchange of information with financial intelligence services of other countries.

Velbegov said that he believes that the regional conference will help develop new partnership models, build on the compatibility of interests of the participating states, to counter terrorism and organized crime, which pose serious threats to universal security.

Lukas Parizek, Slovak State Secretary and Special Representative for the OSCE Chairmanship stressed: We must do more to detect and suppress terrorist financing channels. Terrorist groups have proven adept at exploiting the Internet and social media platforms for networking and raising funds. We need to develop more effective ways to prevent and counter the misuse of the Internet by terrorists while respecting fundamental rights and freedoms. Parizek continued by expressing his wish that discussions today will help identify best practices and lessons learned and strengthen the foundation for pragmatic, regional co-operation.

The conference was attended by high-level and senior representatives of national ministries, Financial Intelligence Units, judicial authorities, banking and communications sectors from OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, in particular from Central Asian countries, as well as from Afghanistan and Mongolia, high-level officials from the OSCE Secretariat and the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, and from the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), INTERPOL, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO RATS), Anti-Terrorism Center of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS/ATC), Western Union (WU), and Facebook.

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe