Accord on trafficking signed with Greece

Published December 17, 2005

ATHENS, Dec 16: Greece on Friday signed an agreement with Iran, Pakistan and Turkey in a move designed to boost cooperation on fighting organized crime and illegal trafficking of immigrants and drugs.

“Immigration and human trafficking are developing into a constantly growing threat which can only be fought through inter-state cooperation,” Greek Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis told a press conference.

“We believe that human trafficking is usually linked to other forms of organized crime, including the drugs trade and terrorism,” he said.

The agreement, which Mr Voulgarakis signed with the interior ministers of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, aims to strengthen border controls, boost cooperation between respective police forces and encourage information sharing.

It also envisages the creation of an ‘early warning mechanism’ on migration waves, Mr Voulgarakis said.

The details on each initiative will be worked out at a later meeting between the four countries, he said.

“For the first time, countries facing a common problem of this magnitude are sitting around the same table to get results,” Mr Voulgarakis said.

The four states pledged to hold regular talks on the issue, and to create a working group of senior officials, who will meet at least once a year to draft strategy.

The next gathering will be held in Istanbul on a date still to be decided. The agreement signatories also decided to invite Afghanistan to a future meeting, Mr Voulgarakis said. —AFP

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