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It is an honor to join you today at this year’s Senior Leaders Seminar hosted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS). Let me first thank ACSS for their leadership over the years in fostering critical partnerships with African nations on combating today’s transnational security threats.
Let me also thank all of you for your commitment in participating in this important program. Having studied myself at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, I believe that these peer-based learning seminars are very important, not only to assess, evaluate, and discuss the broad array of security challenges facing the continent and international community, but towards developing and harnessing more effective strategies and cross-border responses.
As you have no doubt heard throughout the week in your seminar, the United States remains a strong partner in helping safeguard communities against the threats posed by illicit trafficking networks and is keen to elevate our partnership with all of your governments.
In this regard, the U.S. Department of State is similarly committed to strengthen international cooperation in support of our U.S. law enforcement and security agencies, and the capacities of our allies and partners in Africa to disrupt and dismantle transnational organized criminals.
Converging Threats: Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism Pave Illicit Trafficking Corridor
Today’s reality is one in which we live in a world where there is no region, no country and no community who remain untouched by the destabilizing effects and corruptive influence of transnational organized crime and violent terrorism.
Their impact is truly global and their real threat centers in some cases in their convergence. In particular, we must recognize that trans-regional illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, humans, and other illicit trade goods and services, are fueling greater insecurity and instability across Africa, and in other parts of the world.
While the world’s attention has in recent months been focused on the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, or the efforts by North Korea and others on the weaponization of nuclear missiles, the threats posed by transnational organized criminals remain very real in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and globally.
This is especially true as it relates to the increasing links between cross-border narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime across Africa that imperil not only the rule of law, economic development efforts, the promotion of trade and investment, but helps to fuel greater instability and insecurity.
In fact, according to General Thomas D. Waldhauser, U.S. Marine Corps, AFRICOM Commander, “parts of Africa remain a battleground between ideologies, interests, and values: [where] prosperity, and peace are often pitted against extremism, oppression, and conflict. The strategic environment includes instability that allows violent extremist organizations to grow and recruit disenfranchised populations.”
This strategic environment today that General Waldhauser underscores is also impacted by other transregional threats that further complicate security in Africa including issues related to the webs of corruption and cross-border criminality, and related converging threats.
Convergence: I often talk a lot about convergence, and this is something that I encourage you to examine more closely moving forward – and to view today’s transnational security threats through a prism of “convergence crime”.
Because the reality on the ground is that we can no longer simply focus on one component of a threat. In a world of converging threats – where various threats collide to form a more potent mix of insecurity globally; each is individually dangerous but whose sum represents a far greater threat across borders.
Thus, we need to see the threat environment more holistically – how, for example, corruption and complicit facilitators enable the illicit space for criminals and terrorist groups alike to thrive, and to exploit weaknesses in our borders and institutions that imperil our security.
And because as illicit trade operates in the shadow of the global economy, increasingly sophisticated traffickers are diversifying their portfolios in everything from narcotics, people, arms, and wildlife to counterfeits including fake medicines, and illicit tobacco and alcohol goods.
On the governance front, the proceeds of drug trafficking and other forms of illicit trafficking are fueling a dramatic increase in corruption among the very institutions responsible for fighting crime.
The collusion and complicity of some government officials with criminal networks have helped carve out an illicit trafficking corridor that stretches from the West African coast to the Horn of Africa, from North Africa south to the Gulf of Guinea.
Through these illicit trafficking routes, criminals and terrorists alike are moving people and products. From the coca and opium poppy fields of Colombia and Southeast Asia to the coasts of West Africa and its hashish plantations, drug cartels and other criminal networks navigate an illicit superhighway that serves illicit markets across the continent and around the globe. Along across these illicit routes, bad actors and networks are corrupting critical institutions and enforcement systems that exacerbate everyone’s security.
They employ the latest technological advances and use commercial jets, fishing vessels, and container ships to move drugs, people, small arms, crude oil, cigarettes, counterfeit and pirated goods, and toxic waste through the region, generating massive profits.
How massive are these profits? As I will point out shortly in my slides on the recent research of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, the illegal markets in Africa, and globally, are booming with staggering levels of illicit wealth in the global economy. Hundreds of millions of USD every year enable criminals and other threat networks to corrupt the regional economies and the global financial system.
At a time when many are heralding the rise of some of the world’s fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, these criminal entrepreneurs are undermining that economic development and growth by financing flourishing illicit markets, turning many vulnerable communities into a corridor of insecurity and instability, and siphoning the real potential of the legitimate economy.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Financial Integrity (GFI), and other international organizations, generally estimate that the illicit trade in arms, drugs, and people, and other forms of “convergence crime” generate approximately between 8–15 percent of GDP, or several USD trillions to include corrupt proceeds and illicit financial flows.
Cocaine trafficking remains among the most lucrative illicit activities. In April 2017, the UNODC reported that developing markets are fueling a resurgence of cocaine trafficking through West Africa. UNODC further added that seizures on the Atlantic island of Cabo Verde, in the Gambia, Nigeria, and Ghana had contributed to a 78 percent increase in cocaine seizures from 2009-2014 compared to the previous reporting period.
Smugglers and traffickers who intake the cocaine from the Americas will typically transport drugs and other contraband overland across the Sahel and North Africa, before crossing into destination markets in Europe and these new developing markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
West Africa has also become a major transit point for heroin destined for the United States.
Illicit markets are growing across Africa to meet global demand for arms, counterfeits, cigarettes, natural resources, diamonds and other precious minerals, wildlife, illegally-harvested timber, illegal fishing, stolen luxury cars, and other illicit commodities.
The Crime-Terror Continuum: Regional Spillover Effects
Unfortunately, what happens in Africa does not stay in Africa.
A convergence of actors is further paving the corridor of illicit trafficking and crime-terror continuum across Africa – including North Africa – as criminal insurgencies are becoming players themselves in illicit markets and using the proceeds to finance their terror campaigns, secure their training camps, establish safe havens, and export violence to other regions. Violent extremist and terrorist groups draw on public anger towards corruption as a means to radicalize, recruit new members, and deepen sectarian division.
We only have to look at some of the current regional hot spots to clearly comprehend how certain crime-terror dynamics continue to contribute to insecurity and instability that have a ripple effect across borders.
Today’s thriving illegal economy is so lucrative that terrorists are increasingly turning to criminal activities to fund their violent campaigns such as those that we are witnessing today by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and others.
In Mali, as drugs are trafficked through the country, the Sahel, and Maghreb, AQIM and its sympathizers are manipulating socio-economic conditions to further advance an illegal economy that allows them to tax the drugs through the territory that they control and finance their terror campaigns.
Libya also continues to be challenged with violence and insecurity. AQIM and ISIS are attempting to forge alliances with violent extremist networks in Libya and across the Maghreb, Sahel, and West Africa, and are involved in smuggling and trafficking in persons. Organized crime networks exploit a currency black market, irregular migration and illicit trade across borders to enrich themselves and militias that defy law and order.
Nigerian organized criminal networks remain a major player in moving cocaine and heroin worldwide, and have begun to produce and traffic methamphetamine to and around Southeast Asia. In addition to drug trafficking, some of these criminal organizations also engage in other forms of trafficking and fraud targeting citizens of the United States, Europe, and globally.
Widespread corruption in Nigeria further facilitates criminal activity, and, combined with Nigeria’s central location along major trafficking routes, enables criminal groups to flourish and make Nigeria an important trafficking hub.
Nigeria is also confronting a terrorist insurgency led by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISIS-West Africa, which remains the cause of the insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin.
Maritime crime has also captured the attention of the regional states and international community. The reported number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea and the level of violence associated with those acts remain a concern.
The Economic Communities of West and Central African States, the Gulf of Guinea Commission, and their member states should be commended for the continued commitment to implement the June 2013 Yaoundé Summit. The signed Gulf of Guinea Code of Conduct (GGC) covers not only armed robbery at sea and piracy, but also other illicit maritime activity such as illegal fishing, maritime pollution, and human and drug trafficking. The Yaounde Code of Conduct, along with the updates to the Djibouti Code of Conduct to cover other transnational maritime crime, and the newly adopted Lomé Charter, provide excellent frameworks for African states to adopt strategies and implement programs to counter transnational crime in the maritime domain.
In recent years, INL has partnered with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, AFRICOM, and our African partners on maritime security and regional threat mitigation strategies and to build the capacities and capabilities to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal networks.
U.S. Diplomatic Efforts and International Cooperation in Africa
The United States strongly supports the great strides many African countries have made to improve security, good governance, rule of law, and sustainable economic development.
As President Donald J. Trump highlighted in new Executive Order on Transnational Criminal Organizations (E.O. TCO), the United States will continue to assist our partners to strengthen their security footprint and capabilities to combat today’s threat networks.
In support of the President’s E.O. TCO, the United States is committed to strengthen and sustain our resolve and capabilities to protect the homeland and break the corruptive power of transnational criminal networks, attack their financial underpinnings, strip them of their illicit wealth, and sever their access to the financial system.
The United States and its partners continually recognize the importance of net-centric partnerships to confront converging threats and the lethal nexus of organized crime, corruption, and terrorism along global illicit pathways and financial hubs.
For example, targeted financial actions like the 2011 311 finding against LCB can have a major impact, strengthening deterrence and showing that the international community is keeping close watch on Hizballah’s global financial architecture. Through years of cooperation with the Lebanese banking sector and the Lebanese Central Bank, the country has significantly improved its capacity to detect the kinds of behavior that led the United States to designate LCB six years ago.
Let me now share how the Department of State helps fight transnational crime, and in particular the organization I work for, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
INL training efforts help countries build effective rule of law institutions, strengthening criminal justice systems, and strengthening their police, courts, and anti-crime efforts—everything from anti-corruption money laundering, cybercrime, and intellectual property theft to trafficking in goods, people, weapons, drugs, or endangered wildlife.
In coordination with partners in sub-Saharan and North Africa, INL develops and executes foreign assistance programming to promote civilian security and criminal justice sector reform in support of U.S. policy objectives. INL programs improve access to justice, promote stability and democratic reform, professionalize law enforcement entities, support local justice sector officials, and strengthen correction systems.
INL’s sub-Saharan and North Africa projects support partner governments’ efforts to respond effectively to the growing demand for peace and security. INL’s four main objectives are to assist African partners in combating transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism, and their effects; support post-conflict stabilization operations and security sector reform; strengthen criminal justice systems to be accountable to the public and to respect human rights; and promote regional cooperation. INL implements its Africa program through a comprehensive range of bilateral and regional initiatives designed to maximize positive change in host countries and regions.
Let me highlight a few examples of these bilateral INL projects across Africa on criminal justice reform, anti-crime, and in support of counter-terrorism efforts:
• Deployment of Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) and Senior Legal Advisors: U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors embedded in U.S. Embassies to support justice sector development and capacity building: Some countries hosting RLAs include Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, and others.
• Kenya: Build the capacity of vetted units within the National Police Service and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigations unit to investigate and prosecute high-level and government-wide corruption
• Tanzania: enhance the criminal justice system in Tanzania to successfully prosecute wildlife crimes.
• Benin: Build capacity of Benin’s law enforcement and judicial sectors to investigate and prosecute cases involving transnational organized crime, particularly drug trafficking; support to Benin’s border security agency; training of Formed Police Units (FPUs) for peacekeeping deployment; support to the Office Central de Répression du Trafic Illicite de Drogue et des Précurseurs
• Ghana: Training police-prosecutors, creating a counternarcotics unit, training police SWAT unit; training FPUs for peacekeeping deployment; and improving the investigations and administration of justice related to maritime crimes, cyber-crime, and border-related crimes
• Nigeria: Advise and support the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Justice and security dialogues project with law enforcement and civil society; international police education and training; curriculum reform; forensics support; Embedding advisors to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
• South Africa: Senior law enforcement advisor support to professionalize law enforcement and fundamental police operations; building investigative and enforcement capacities to combat wildlife trafficking
Finally, INL also administers the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP) which offers rewards up to $5 million for information, leads, and tips that help hobble transnational criminal organizations involved in activities beyond drug trafficking, such as human trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in arms, counterfeits and pirated goods, and other illicit trade areas.
Our embassies and/or our INL offices would be happy to share further information on INL bilateral and regional programming in specific countries in Africa as requested.
Let me say also few words on several regional initiatives that INL supports:
The West Africa Regional Security Initiative (WARSI)
WARSI funds assist the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members to establish and sustain effective, professional, and accountable criminal justice and civilian security sectors. Technical assistance facilitates partner-country efforts to counter transnational threats including illicit trafficking and to strengthen conflict mitigation and state legitimacy. WARSI focuses on security sector reform (SSR) in countries with more foundational assistance needs and criminal justice sector reform to counter transnational organized crime (TOC) in countries with more stable institutions. Counter-TOC assistance is more advanced, and often includes training specialized units, such as counter narcotics task forces.
The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership
The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year U.S. strategy aimed at developing resilient institutions that are capable of preventing and responding to terrorism in a holistic, long term manner. INL TSCTP programs in Africa work to counter and prevent violent extremism by empowering partner countries to (1) provide effective and accountable security and justice services to enhance citizen cooperation with and trust in law enforcement and (2) develop the institutional foundation for counterterrorism and related capabilities, including border security and prison security and reintegration efforts. In doing so, INL focuses on enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among TSCTP countries so that they increasingly learn with and from each other. Partner countries include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism
The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) is the U.S. government’s multi-year, multi-sector initiative to build the long-term capabilities of East African partners to contain, disrupt, and marginalize terrorist networks in the region. INL’s PREACT funds empower East African criminal justice institutions to confront complex challenges posed by cross-border terrorism. INL’s active PREACT partners include Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania.
Security Governance Initiative
The Security Governance Initiative (SGI) is a multi-year effort between the United States and partner countries to improve security sector governance and capacity to address threats. SGI partners with countries to undertake strategic and institutional reforms required to tackle key security challenges. Together with six current partners – Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia – SGI focuses on shared security priorities and enhance security sector management. SGI is managed by the State Department’s Africa Bureau but leverages expertise and experience from across the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Counterterrorism Center. Coordination and collaboration both within the U.S. government and with partner countries is a hallmark of SGI. INL’s activities undertaken as part of SGI seek to develop, support, and strengthen criminal justice institutions and capabilities to ensure citizen security and promote the rule of law, including sound policies, institutional structures, systems, processes, and effective management methods so that governments can efficiently and effectively deliver security and justice in a sustainable manner.
Regional Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Efforts
As many of you are aware, the United States continues to partner with the international community to combat the illegal wildlife trade.
INL is part of a whole of government approach to combating wildlife trafficking. We work closely with other parts of the Department and other agencies to support the global fight against wildlife trafficking through assistance to multiple countries in Africa. Under the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking (CWT), INL builds the capacity of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute wildlife crimes and develops regional cooperation mechanisms.
Activities can include training, mentoring, and equipment provision for park rangers, police, prosecutors, non-governmental organizations, and civil society entities to address the multiple dimensions of poaching and wildlife trafficking. Our first projects began in Kenya and South Africa, followed by Namibia and Tanzania. Future projects will cover larger areas of central and southern Africa, and address both source and transit countries.
Regional Law Enforcement Training
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not highlight INL’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. The ILEA program delivers courses on a wide range of law enforcement topics, and builds regional law enforcement networks to detect, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations regardless of their means of operation and income.
Since inception in 2001, ILEA Gaborone has trained thousands of mid- and senior-level criminal justice officers in specialized skills on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics operations, forensic accounting, customs interdiction, various forms of trafficking, document fraud, and illegal immigration. The program also engages with senior officials on the factors that facilitate these criminal networks, addressing public corruption, discussing modern community-oriented policing models, and cooperative international security networks that hinder illicit networks from flourishing.
As an outbranch of the successful ILEA network, INL opened the West Africa Regional Training Center (RTC) in Accra, Ghana, in January 2013. The RTC has convened hundreds of law enforcement, security, and judicial officials from multiple countries in West Africa and the Sahel, creating relationships across the region, and building knowledge and skills on topics ranging from investigative analysis to anti-corruption to counternarcotics.
We continue to explore future areas of assistance to include strengthening capabilities to preserve crime scenes for complex investigations, create strong case packages, and build more effective, evidence-based trials.
Conclusion: Partnerships for Sustainable Security
In closing, I want to again extend the appreciation on behalf of the U.S. Department of State for your commitment to work across borders, improve coordination and information-sharing, and leverage our respective capabilities and capacities to defeat our common adversaries.
We must continue to leverage all national economic, intelligence, and diplomatic powers to make it riskier, harder, and costlier for threat networks to do business within Africa, and externally.
Illicit trafficking remains the lifeblood of the numerous bad actors and networks, creating vulnerabilities for nations.
We must crackdown on corruption at all levels and cut off the ability of kleptocrats, criminals, and terrorists to enjoy the fruits of illicit enterprise and that enable the financial capacity to execute their operations.
By combating corruption, we can also shut the door and keep violent extremists from exploiting their grievances to wage jihad. We must prevent narco-corruption from destroying countries like Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.
In addition to our law enforcement and security cooperation, we also need to address underlying causes that are contributing to today’s conflicts and insecurity in Africa: food and water security, poverty, economic integration and development, and other socio-economic areas that empower communities and nurture growth markets, investment frontiers, and resiliency.
With careful, targeted assistance, and smart diplomatic engagement, together we can advance our common objectives and strategic interests.
If we do not act decisively, the region will remain an exporter of terror and a provider of safe havens where terrorists from other conflicts all over the world find refuge, illicit trafficking will continue to expand, arms and weapons will dangerously proliferate, women, men, and children will be trafficked, and drugs and illicit enterprise will corrode the rule of law and the gains of globalization.
We can only tackle these threats effectively if we work together and jointly synchronize our full spectrum capabilities and capacities. We must stay connected and continue to harness our network of networks at every level – local, regional, and global to win our fight against convergence crime.
If we do this, we can create hope, stability, opportunity, and an enduring peace.
Thank you.Read more
President Juncker and Members of the Commission at the IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC
As of tomorrow, President Juncker and several Members of the Commission will travel to Washington DC (USA) for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings on 20-22 April. President Juncker, Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Hahn, and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission at different events hosted in that framework. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings will also be held in the margins. President Juncker will meet, among others with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres. He will also have a working dinner with Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Mr. Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank; Mr. Rolf Wenzel, Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank; Mr. Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank; Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, and Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank. The other Members of the Commission present in Washington also have a variety of high-level bilateral meetings, speaking engagements and other commitments. A more detailed calendar is available here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153)
Commission renews cooperation for sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western Mediterranean
Today, the European Commission launches a new initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western Mediterranean region that will increase maritime safety and security, promote sustainable blue growth and jobs, and preserve ecosystems and biodiversity. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “Millions of holiday makers have a happy association with the Western Mediterranean. Like the millions more who live across the region, they understand the fragile link between conserving national habitats and traditions and ensuring economic viability. Blue economy is important for each of the countries involved and they have recognised the strength of working together.” The initiative is an example of EU’s successful neighbourhood policy as five EU Member States (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta) and five Southern partner countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) will work jointly on their shared interests in the region. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: ”This new regional initiative recognises and taps into the economic potential of the Mediterranean Sea and its coast lines to further enhance economic growth, contribute to job creation and eventually the stabilisation of the region. It is an important step towards closer coordination and cooperation among participating countries.” The enhanced cooperation is particularly timely as just three weeks ago the Commission secured a 10-year pledge to save Mediterranean fish stocks in the Ministerial MedFish4Ever Declaration. Among others, the initiative’s targeted actions include cooperation between coast guards, response to accidents and oil spills, habitat conservation, biotechnology, data sharing, marine knowledge and coastal tourism. For more information on the priorities and specific actions of the initiative a full press release and MEMO are online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Iris Petsa – Tel.: + 32 229 93321)
Commission launches public consultation on how excise duties are applied to alcoholic beverages
The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on how excise duties are applied to alcohol and alcoholic beverages (“excise duty structures”). EU excise duty rules for alcohol aim to prevent trade distortions in the Single Market, ensure fair competition between businesses, and reduce administrative burden for businesses. Concretely, the rules define product categories, methods to charge the duty and provide for reduced rates and exemptions from excise duty. However, these rules have not changed since 1992 and a recent Commission report has recommended clearer tax rules to support small producers of alcoholic beverages and to fight the sale of dangerous counterfeit alcohol. The Commission is also keen to reduce costs for smaller businesses. In December, EU Finance Ministers requested that the Commission carry out the necessary studies to prepare a possible legislative proposal to revise the common rules. The aim now is to identify ways to alleviate the administrative burden for both Member States and business, while reducing distortions in the internal market. Excise duties are indirect taxes on the sale or use of specific products. They are usually applied as an amount per quantity of the product – e.g. per 1,000 litres in the case of alcohol. Revenues from excise duty go directly to the coffers of EU Member States. The consultation will run until 7 July 2017 and is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)
Eurostat: Mars 2017: Le taux d’inflation annuel de la zone euro en baisse à 1,5% – Celui de l’UE en baisse à 1,6%
Le taux d’inflation annuel de la zone euro s’est établi à 1,5% en mars 2017, contre 2,0% en février. Un an auparavant, il était de 0,0%. Le taux d’inflation annuel de l’Union européenne s’est établi à 1,6% en mars 2017, contre 2,0% en février. Un an auparavant, il était de 0,0%. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En mars 2017, les taux annuels les plus faibles ont été observés en Roumanie (0,4%) ainsi qu’en Irlande et aux Pays-Bas (0,6% chacun). Les taux annuels les plus élevés ont été enregistrés en Lettonie (3,3%), en Lituanie (3,2%) et en Estonie (3,0%). Par rapport à février 2017, l’inflation annuelle a baissé dans dix-sept États membres, est restée stable dans six et a augmenté dans cinq autres. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl – Tél:+32 229-59914)
Eurostat: Février 2017: Excédent de 17,8 milliards d’euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro – Excédent de 1,7 mrd d’euros pour l’UE28
D’après les premières estimations pour le mois de février 2017, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 170,3 milliards d’euros, en hausse de 4% par rapport à février 2016 (163,2 mrds). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 152,6 mrds d’euros, en hausse de 5% par rapport à février 2016 (144,9 mrds). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en février 2017 un excédent de 17,8 mrds d’euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre un excédent de 18,2 mrds en février 2016. Le commerce intra-zone euro a progressé à 149,1 mrds d’euros en février 2017, en hausse de 5% par rapport à février 2016. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations:Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska- Tel.: +32 229 Kinga 51383)
First Vice-President Timmermans on a visit to Romania
Tomorrow, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will travel to Bucharest, Romania, where he will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue to exchange views with Romanians on the White Paper on the Future of Europe and the 60-year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. During the visit, the First Vice-President will meet Prime Minister Sorin Mihai Grindeanu, the Minister of Justice, Tudorel Toader, and the Minister of the Interior, Carmen Daniela Dan to discuss progress in bringing forward the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) reform. He will also discuss these matters with representatives from the Romanian Parliament including the Speaker of the Senate, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Liviu Dragnea. These meetings will be followed by a joint discussion with members of the Justice and European Affairs Committees of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. The First Vice-President will also attend a meeting with the leaders of parliamentary opposition parties and will further discuss the CVM with the relevant partners and stakeholders in the field of justice. A joint press conference with the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior and First Vice-President is scheduled for 13:00 (local time). The Citizens’ Dialogue will take place at 17:30 (local time) and will be followed by a press doorstep. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)
La Commissaire Thyssen rencontrera les autorités et partenaires sociaux belges dans le cadre du Semestre européen
Demain 20 avril, la Commissaire responsable de l’emploi, des affaires sociales, des compétences et de la mobilité de travailleurs, Marianne Thyssen, sera en Belgique dans le cadre du Semestre européen, le cycle annuel de surveillance budgétaire et socio-économique européenne. Le matin, elle rencontrera d’abord le Premier Ministre Charles Michel et le Vice Premier Ministre Kris Peeters. Cette rencontre sera suivie d’une conférence de presse qui sera diffusée ici. Le discours de la Commissaire sera publié ici. La Commissaire Thyssen participera ensuite à un échange de vues au parlement fédéral avec les comités budgets et finances et affaires sociales et avec le comité d’avis sur les affaires européennes. Son discours sera publié ici. L’après-midi est réservé à une rencontre avec les Ministres régionaux et communautaires de l’emploi et à une discussion avec les partenaires sociaux interprofessionnels au sein du Conseil national de travail et du Conseil central de l’économie. L’objectif de cette journée de rencontres est de préparer les recommandations spécifiques par pays que la Commission européenne proposera en mai au Conseil. (Pour plus d’informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)
Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)Read more
NNA – The year 2016 was an eventful one. But, perhaps the prime event of the year was the election of General Michel Aoun as President, after a two and a half year vacancy at Baabda Palace. This event was followed by forming a new Cabinet headed by Saad Hariri, which won the vote of confidence two months after formation.
On the security level, security apparatuses craftily and accurately dismantled numerous terrorist cells, and arrested many of the masterminds behind them. A number of drug laboratories were seized and many drug traffickers were detained at the airport and seaports.
Tourism flourished in 2016, as festivals bustled with international artists. Literary and artistic exhibitions were high on the tourism agenda of Lebanon as well.
The art world lost many legends of the golden age of music such as Melhem Barakat, Samir Yazbek, and Mouna Meraachli. Actors Ali Diab and Joseph Nanou also passed away, leaving a legacy that would forever keep them alive.
Internationally, terrorism reigned over 2016. Suicide bombers and car bombs targeted people wherever they may be, even on a plane, in a church, and at a mosque. Terrorists devised new menacing ways to hurt people, and mass running-over of innocent civilians by trucks emerged in France and Germany. But, the most heinous of these terror acts were the booby-trapping of children and burning of hostages.
Air-crash accidents and attacks also occurred in 2016. The planes ranged from military to civilian.
Years go by and the cycle of events repeats itself. The National News Agency wishes its followers a happy New Year. Following is a roundabout of the major events of 2016:
– Snowstorm hits Lebanon and snow reaches 250 meters in a number of areas.
– Saudi Arabia executes 47 people convicted of terrorism, including cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
– Attack targets KSA Embassy in Tehran.
– Former Minister Fouad Boutros passes away.
– 14 kilos of cocaine seized in luggage of Lebanese man coming from Brazil.
– Saudi Arabia announces severance of diplomatic relations with Iran.
– Resistance announces Martyr Samir Kuntar’s group detonation of an Israeli patrol, enemy responds by shelling a number of areas.
– Sudan severs diplomatic relations with Iran.
– Number of ISIS militants die after targeting the Lebanese Army near Khirbet Daoud.
– Bahrain announces suspension of flights to and from Iran.
– Iranian diplomatic mission members leave Saudi Arabia.
– Parliament postpones 34th presidential election session.
– Standoff between “We want Accountability” activists and the security forces in front of the Central Inspection building.
– Iran prohibits entry of all KSA products. Constitutional council re-appeals restoration of citizenship law.
– Somalia announces severing diplomatic ties with Iran.
– The Government of Japan has provides $ 2 million in support of host communities and displaced Syrians in Lebanon.
– Armed terrorists kill ISF member in Arsal.
– Artist Rafik Oueijan passes away.
– Security forces arrest key member involved in Burj Barajneh blast.
– 13th dialogue session takes place in Ein Teeneh.
– Four trucks deliver aid to Madaya, Fou’aa, and Kefraya.
– 22nd dialogue session takes place between Hezbollah and Future Movement.
– Blast rocks “Sultan Ahmed” Square in central Istanbul leaving scores dead and wounded.
– Lebanese abducted in Libya over financial issues.
– Military Court of Cassation approves request to free former minister Michel Samaha. Protesters cut roads in a number of areas.
– “We Want Accountability” activists stage sit-in outside the Grand Serail, Al-Azarieh building, and inside the Ministry of Environment. Security Forces arrest a number of activists.
– Beirut roads cut in protest against the liberation of Samaha.
– Implementation of “humanitarian operations” kick off in Syria.
– Terrorist attack targets hotel in Burkina Faso, leaves large number of tourist casualties.
– Civil Movement stages sit-in in front of Quarantina plant.
– Implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran begins.
– US President Barack Obama discloses before Congress decisions to lift sanctions on Iran.
– “Free Patriotic Movement” holds internal elections.
– Sherine Noujaim announced first Lebanese to qualify for the Summer Olympics of 2016.
– “Lebanese Forces” adopts the nomination “Change and Reform” bloc leader, MP Michel Aoun, for the Lebanese presidency.
– Airport Customs seizes 100 kilograms of cocaine worth LBP 2.5 billion.
– Historic slump of Russian currency exceeds 80 rubbles per dollar.
– Swedish man arrested in Beirut in line with quality police operation in Sweden to arrest cocaine smuggling network.
– Macedonia temporarily closes its borders with Greece in the face of immigrants.
– Navigation and fishing stopped in a number of ports due to massive storms in Lebanon.
– Number of civil defence volunteers drive to Syria after not being granted full-time jobs.
– 1300 grams of narcotic substances confiscated at Beirut airport.
– Head of the Kuwaiti parliament visits Beirut.
– Kataeb Party Head, MP Sami Gemayel, announces that the party will elect neither MP Michel Aoun nor MP Suleiman Franjieh for the Lebanese presidency.
– Soldier arrested on charges of belonging to Daesh.
– Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi meets Pope Francis in Rome.
– Jeitta’s lower cave closed after the death of an Egyptian tourist in an accident.
– Schools and institutes close as storm “Talasa” hits Lebanon.
– Presidential debate takes place between House Speaker, Nabih Berri, and “Lebanese Forces” leader, Samir Geagea.
– Airport Customs seizes 5 kg of Captagon sent to Sudan.
– Refugee kills Lebanese-Swedish employee from Kal’aa in Marjayoun.
– French, Iranian presidents discuss the Lebanese presidency dossier.
– National Dialogue Party convenes.
– Suicide attacks in Nigeria leaves scores dead and wounded.
– Civil Defence Rescue teams pull at least a hundred cars stuck under the snow on the road to Kafr Silwan – Tarshish.
– Cabinet approves the military appointments in the military council.
– Iran signs an agreement in Paris to purchase 118, “Airbus” aircrafts.
– Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announces his party’s support to President Michel Aoun’s presidential candidacy.
– German police: Grenade tossed at refugee center southwest of the country.
– Israeli enemy works remove trees from occupied Zebdine plantations.
– Ministry of Health announces first death from malaria.
– Dozens killed and wounded in brawl between two families in Tripoli.
– Syrian Syrian negotiations kickstart in Geneva.
– UNESCO registers Christ Baptism Bathtub in Jordan River on World Heritage List.
– Release of five Czechs who were kidnapped on Kefraya-West Bekaa Road last July.
– Civil Defence volunteers cut off several roads, demand full-time contracts .
– US Envoy James Albrian in Lebanon.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam chairs Lebanon’s delegation at Syria Support Conference in London
– Arrest of more than 20 terrorists in army raid in Arsal outskirts
– Suspension of Syrian negotiations in Geneva.
– Ambassadors of super power countries, Arab states and European Union meet with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi and call for presidential elections.
– Raids in Germany and arrest of two Algerians suspected of belonging to Daash.
– Arrest at head of department at airport on charges of public funds’ embezzlement.
– Release of Lebanese man detained in Czech Republic in 2014 on charges of arms’ smuggling
– Kuwaiti freed in Ta’nayel after being kidnapped from his ranch in Kab Elias.
– “We Want Accountablility” and Civil Society activists set up tents in Riad Solh in preparation for their move.
– European Union pledges at London conference to provide three billion euros to Syrians in 2016
– “We Want Accountability” activists stage sit-in, clash with ecurity forces.
– Civil Defence rescues around hundred vehicles blocked by snow on Tarshish-Zahle Road
– Two explosive devices dismantled in Nejmeh Square in Tripoli.
– Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi signs Lebanese flag in solidarity with civil defense rights.
– 35th round of session to elect president of the republic postponed.
– Clashes between “Nusra Front” and “Daesh” in Arsal outskirts.
– Closed door meeting among Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi, MPs Gilbert Zouein and Antoine Zahra, former Minister Yusuf Saade.
– Civil defense volunteers consecrated full timers by the Council of Ministers.
– Enemy patrol breaches withdrawal line and pulls out 100 head of cattle to the occupied territories.
– Israeli enemy releases captured herd of cattle.
– Civil movement refuses waste exportation, announces escalation.
– Lawsuits filed against seven people of “Mohammed Saem” Group on charges of planning to set up an Islamic emirate.
– Army closes illegal crossings in ‘Housh Sayyid Ali’ in Hermel.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam participates in inaugural ceremony of “Munich Conference on Global Security”.
– Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Havana.
– Casualties and damages at Nusra Front centers in Alzab and Wadi al-Kheil.
– Arrest of a Lebanese for his involvementin the transfer of one of the perpetrators of the double suicide bombing in Burj Barajneh.
– Tension in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp at dawn due to personal braul.
– Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrives in Beirut to participate in martyrdom commemoration of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Biel, announces understanding with MP Sleiman Franjieh.
– Killed and wounded in trade of fire between people from two families in Bekaa’s Taybeh.
– Enemy corrodes olive groves and oak orchards in the occupied Zibdeen.
– Arrest of the perpetrator of Cherokee car bombing in Haret Hreik in 2014.
– Army closes all illegal crossings, removes earthen barricades from Msharfeh region far-reaching to al-Qasr town.
– Death of Egyptian writer Mohamed Hassanein Heikal.
– |”We Want Accountability” activists gather outside the house of Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
– Syrian President issues general amnesty for those indicted with ‘fleeing military service’.
-Pope winds up historic five-day visit to Mexico.
– Exam winners at Civil Service Council stage sit in.
– “You Stink” Campaign asks PM to set up contingency committee under his chairmanship to agree on an all-out waste plan.
– Sit in by Palestinian refugee camps locals to protest UNRWA services’ reduction.
– “We Want Accountability” calls for opening official probe and summoning Chinook company representatives.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam in a statement: “We received with great regret Saudi Arabia’s sudden decision to halt aids assigned to arm and equip the army and internal security forces”.
-Discovery of Roman ruins in Khraibeh.
– Prime Minister Saad Hariri holds Hezbollah and Free Patriotic Movement responsibility of Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt aid.
– “We Want Accountability” activists call for holding those involved in waste deportation deal accountable, stage sit-in at Riad Solh Square.
– Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi submits resignation.
– March 14 leaders meet at Central House.
– A delegation from Progressive Socialist Party visits Meerab dispatched by MP Walid Jumblatt.
– Berri heads to Brussels to attend plenary session of European Parliament.
– Army apprehends Daash militant Ahmed Amon in Arsal.
– Clashes in Arsal between army and terrorists.
-A meeting between President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and MP Walid Jumblatt underlines importance of ties with Saudi Arabia and need to elect a president democratically.
– Denouncement and solidarity with Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri says: There exists one segment hurting the Lebanese.
– More than 100,000 immigrants enter Europe via Mediterranean in 2016.
– Hollande, Merkel, Cameron and Obama deliberate over phone on Syria.
– Closure of several UNRWA offices in Palestinian refugee camps.
-EDL daily workers storm into 13th floor of EDL institution, call for consecrating them full timers.
– Russian army announces start of negotiations on cease-fire with Syrian opposition groups.
– Qatari Foreign Ministry urges its nationals to leave Lebanon.
– “We Want Accountability” activists stage sit in outside the Central Inspection, erect tent in vicinity
– Russian Foreign Ministry: Moscow does not support Assad but shares goal of combating terrorism.
– A meeting between Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces delegation.
– Families of Kidnapped military stage sit in outside Casino du Liban.
– Fadel Abdul Rahman Shamdar, known as Fadel Shaker, sentenced to 5 year imprisonment and stripped of civil rights.
– NASA: Discovering of new dwarf planet in the solar system.
– Bomb tossed in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, use of knives among Palestinians in al-Jaleel refugee camp.
-Tents for Syrian refugees set ablaze in Housh Rafiqa, civili defense fighter wounded.
– Death of 125 people by yellow fever in Angola.
– Russian military declares pause in bombing operations in Syria in implementation of ceasefire.
– 9 dead and 13 wounded in a suicide bombing near the Ministry of Defense in Kabul.
– Protests in Msharafieh and Ghoubeiri at the backdrop of mimicking Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in a television program.
– Bombs tossed in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.
– 12 Fatqa closed door meeting by Notre Dame Gathering to look into Christian Lebanese options in light of regional crisis.
– Pope Francis calls on Europeans for equitable distribution of refugees’ burden.
– Rahi from Rome: With the disruption of presidency lies the sin of selfishness, conceit and narrow interests
– Kataeb Party students stage sit in outside Grand Serail under the headline: “Lebanon is not a dump.”
-Army artillery shells terrorists’ movements in Ras Baalbek outskirts.
– Two Syrian military helicopters fly over Lebanese-Syrian borders.
– Two Israeli bulldozers carry out earthen works in the locality of Zibdeen on the outskirts of Kfar Shuba.
– More than 131,000 immigrants arrive in Europe via Mediterranean in 2016.
– Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders in Lebanon, calls for presidential elections: Ready to provide assistance in the waste dossier.
– Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) lists Hezbollah, terrorist organization.
– Mortar shells fall at the border line of Shebaa Farms due to enemy maneuver.
– Postponement of the 36th parliamentary session for the election of the President.
– Government Commissioner at the Military Tribunal Judge Saqr Saqr received from the Defense Minister a notice put forward by former President Michel Sleiman requesting investigation into Pierre Raffoul’s accusations against him during two media interviews- dated March and October 2015- of smuggling Shaker al-Absi.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Council of Ministers: No justification for the existence of the government if we fail to address the waste dossier.
– Prime Minister Saad Hariri: If we do not have a president and a new government, Lebanon will not be able to continue to face challenges.
– UNHCR: The number of unofficial camps do not exceed 1,942.
– 16 Killed in an armed attack on a retirement home Eden.
– Tunisian Foreign Ministry: Arab Interior Ministers Council did classify Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
– “We Want Accountability” campaign stages sit in outside the Central Inspection, distribute statements data in protest of what they called “the failure of the Central Inspection in holding accountable those who initial deals and steal public money.”
– 9 medals for Lebanon on the first day of Asian Kids Championship for Ski.
– Army teams rescue pedestrians lost in snow in al-Mkammel Mountain.
– Death of American programmer Ray Tomlinson inventor of email.
– Body of Daash militant found in Arsal outskirts with gunshot in his head.
– Lebanon scores victory in presidency of Arab Organization for Young Lawyers.
– Washington and Seoul begin their military maneuvers, Pyongyang threatens random nuclear attack.
– Arrest of slayer of martyr soldier Abbas Mudlij.
– The White House: Netanyahu refuseS to meet with Obama.
– Iran’s Revolutionary Guards test the launch of ballistic missiles.
– Fanar Road cut off with bags of waste to protest trash accumulation in streets.
– 16th round of National Dialogue meeting.
– Iran fires two Ballistic missiles in a new testing.
– Enemy forces fire smoke grenades eastern Mtollah, hostile patrols at northern end of Shabaa farms.
– Lebanese American military exercises in Kfarfalous.
– Smoke bombs dropped by enemy patrol off Kfer Kela.
– Civil Movement young men attempt to remove fence in vicinity of Grand Serail.
– Army martyr fallen during attack on Daesh post in Qaa outskirts, five terrorists killed.
– Minister Gebran Bassil represents Lebanon at the the Arab League Council session at the level of foreign ministers in Cairo under the chairmanship of Bahrain.
– Appointment of Ahmed Aboul Gheit Secretary General of the Arab League.
– Two Kuwaitis found murdered inside workers’ room in “Laredo” Restaurant in Kahaleh.
– Civil society activists stage sit in against the garage in Tripoli, call for comprehensive plan.
-Arrest of suspects in the murder of Kuwaitis.
– Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil from Cairo: Lebanon expresses reservation on the description of Hezbollah as terrorist for such term fails to comply with Arab anti-terrorism treaty.
– The Arab League declares “the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group” amidst reservation from Lebanon, and Iraq, and a remark from Algeria.
– Charred body found in the valely of al-Hamoudieh town in the Bekaa.
– Cabinet discusses waste crisis: Sorting from source improvising landfills and treatment centers with incentives for municipalities.
-Syrian confesses murdering compatriot and Kuwaiti in Doura.
– Demonstration by civil Movement activists at Riad Solh Square.
– Dozens killed and wounded in blast in Ankara.
– Terrorist attack targeting tourists in restaurants in Ivory Coast, including Lebanese.
– “Change and Reform” bloc head General Michel Aoun on March 14 anniversary: Doors are now open for all types of solutions.. We will not allow continued statuquo since 1999.
– Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel on “March 14” anniversary: It failed to add achievements to Cedar Revolution, except Syrian pullout.
– UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Regional powers exploited Syrian conflict to settle accounts.
– Arrival of the first batch of Russian fighters returning from Syria to Voronezh base.
– UN Special Envoy, American actress Angelina Jolie in Lebanon.
– Czech Republic accuses Turkey of blackmailing European Union on the issue of refugees.
– Spy device discovered off Blat town.
– Death of Arab thinker and Translator George Tarabishi.
– Death of former Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan.
– WHO: Ebola epidemic ends in Sierra Leone, stops its spread in West Africa.
– Russian Defense Ministry: 20 to 25 strikes per day in support of the Syrian army in Palmyra.
– Palestinian killed by the Israeli occupation in the West Bank after trying to stab a soldier.
– 62 killed in “Fly Dubai” plane crash southern Russia.
– Casualties in suicide bombing in Istanbul.
– Environment Minister: Eight thousand tons of waste lifted within 24 hours.
– 600 immigrants rescued and five others die off the Libyan coast.
– Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: Any aggression on Lebanon shall drive us to wage war without ceiling and red lines.
– “We Want Accountability” activists stage sit in outside Sukleen, clash between demonstrators and employees.
– Families of kidnapped servicemen demonstrate in Arsal.
– Army finds inside Jihad Mosque in Bab al-Tabbaneh a bag with hand grenades.
– President Barack Obama in Cuba.
– Casualties in Belgium terrorist attack.
– Army: One fleeing soldier killed after tossing grenade and opening fire on army unit.
-40 Qaeda members killed in US bombing of camp in Yemen.
– Postponement of 37th presidential election session.
– Ban Ki-moon in Lebanon.
– Roadside bomb targets army in Wadi Ata, one soldier killed and three others wounded.- -Death of Dutch visionary soccer Johan Cruyff.
– Ban Ki-moon: Lebanon hosts temporarily Syrians temporarily and the international community supports them.. We don’t aim to settle them anywhere but rather secure their return to their country in peace.
– Heavy gunfire emanates from the Syrian side towards a village in Wadi Khaled.
– Arrest of one person in Maaraboun with 15 pistols in his possession in addition to artifact worth half a million dollars.
– Casualties in suicide bombing at ports stadium south of Baghdad.
– Sit in at Costa Brava Beach in rejection of waste landfill.
– Symbolic gathering in front of Belgium Embassy in solidarity with the families of bombings victims, words call on international community to take a decision against terrorism.
– Raouche Rock illuminated with Belgian and Lebanese flags in solidarity with the victims of the Brussels attacks.
– White House and Capitol Hill closed after shooting from Capitol building, arrest of culprits.
– Hand grenade tossed in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, shooting in air.
– Heavy fighting between Nusra and Daash in eastern chain outskirts and the borders, two Lebanese amongst casualties.
– Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrives in Moscow.
– Hand grenade tossed in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp coupling with shooting.
– Enemy patrols along al-Ghajar axis till Wadi Asal coupling with reconnaissance overflights.
– British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrives in Beirut.
– Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: The war in Syria inflicted damage worth $ 200 billion.
– Former PM Saad Hariri after meeting Lavrov: Our country and its institutions are passing through difficult phase.
– Death of Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid in heart attack in Miami.
– Clashes between protesters and police in Paris during protests against Labor Law amendment draft.
– Army receives three US military helicopters.
– Death of Hungarian writer, Nobel laureate Imre Kertesz.
– Scores dead and wounded in clashes in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.
– People storm into the Middle East newspaper’s office in Ashrafieh Tower and smash its contents.
– Prime Minister Saad Hariri meets with Putin in Kremlin.
– Death of former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher.
– H 1 N 1 virus spreads in Brazil four months before the Olympics.
– General Security stops Daesh network over recruitment of minors to perform terrorist acts.
– Dead and wounded in clashes in Ain al-Hilweh camp.
– Ceasefire announced in Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp.
– Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi opens spiritual summit in Bkirki: Challenges require us to meet and think together not only to serve our churches, but to serve the people of the region.
– Arrival of the first batch of refugees from Turkey to Germany.
– Grenade explodes in Ain al-Hilweh camp.
– Nilesat announces decision to stop broadcasting Al-Manar channel on satellite.
– Israeli conducts patrols at center of occupied Shebaa Farms.
– Saudi civil defence: gunfire kills two on Yemeni border.
– UNRWA offices close in Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh.
– Czech Republic cancels resettlement program of Iraqi Christians.
– Copy of Shakespeare’s works found in a Scottish island.
– Egyptian-Saudi agreement to construct bridge between the two countries.
– Trade union stages sit-in against corruption in Riad Solh.
– Michel Samaha sentenced to 13 years in prison and stripped of his civil rights.
– Airport security stops two Lebanese involved in contacting a terrorist organization.
– French Defence Minister visits Baghdad to discuss war against Daesh.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam chairs security meeting devoted to illegal Internet, Harb announces arrest of four involved.
– Explosions in front of a police station in southern Russia.
– Dialogue session between Hezbollah and Future Movement.
– The European Union renews its sanctions against Iranian figures.
– Fatah official Fathi Zeidan killed in Sidon.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam participates in Istanbul summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
– Airport Customs seize 31 kilos of cocaine and arrest smuggler.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam at 13th Islamic Cooperation Summit: Lebanon rejects resettlement of displaced people and affirms support to Arab consensus.
– Army arrests citizen over attacking army positions in Arsal in August 2014.
– Security Forces: Arrest of most-wanted drug trafficker in Tabarja.
– French President Francois Hollande in Lebanon declares aid to refugees in Lebanon will amount to 50 million euros this year and 100 million euros in the next three years.
– Russian fighter intercepts US military plane over the Baltic
– Israel’s cabinet convenes for the first time in the Golan.
– Stun grenade tossed at Rashidiya refugee camp.
– Sit-in in front of ESCWA in condemnation of targeting and shelling children in Kefraya and Fao’a.
– 17th dialogue session takes place in Ein Teeneh.
– Meeting between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and US President Barack Obama in Riyadh.
– Summit between US President Barack Obama and leaders of Gulf countries in Riyadh.
– International Red Cross announces largest aid convoy to town of Rastan.
– Opening of public park near Sidon landfill.
– Summit between US President Barack Obama and leaders of Gulf countries in Riyadh.
– International Red Cross announces arrival of largest aid convoy to the town of Rastan.
– Bomb goes off under car notary public in Hermel.
– President Tammam Salam participates in New York’s climate conference.
– Burning cars and damaged homes in clashes between members of Zuayter family in Laylaki.
– Clashes at American University of Beirut on anniversary of Bashir Gemayel.
– 35 new cases of food poisoning in Akkar, and the Ministry of Health opens an investigation.
– Prosecutor General Judge Samir Hammoud tells the “National News Agency” about the arrest of seven people involved in the illegal internet scandal.
– Suicide bomber blows herself up in a historic site in the city of Bursa northwestern Turkey.
– Army kills Amir of Daesh in Arsal area
– Prime Minister Saad Hariri meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
– The sacred flame arrives to the tomb of Christ in Minyara Akkar.
– Armed clashes between two families in Choueifat.
– Armed clashes in Sharawneh Street in Akkar.
– Booby-trapped car explodes in Ghaziantep in Turkey.
– Former MP NouhadSoueid passes away.
– Announcement of inauguration of first airline between Lebanon and Zurich.
– Minister of Culture Raymond Araiji launches Lebanese Virtual National Museum for Modern Art.
– Foreign Minister GebranBassil launches work on implementation of Lebanese Citizenship Restoration Law.
– Saudi Foreign Ministry announces security forces raided terrorist cell near Mecca, killed all four members.
– – Renewed Israeli airstrikes bomb Hamas Movement’s bases in Gaza.
– Riot inside Qobbeh jail.
– Highest Lebanese flag hoisted upon Martyrs Day.
– Actor Ali Diyab passes away.
– Four-kg explosive bomb dismantled at Saadnayel roundabout.
– Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Rahiin France.
– First stage of municipal and mayor election kicks off in Beirut, Bekaa, and Baalback-Hermel.
– Russia and the U.S. announceredoubled efforts to reach political settlement to Syria war and extension of February 27 ceasefire nationwide.
– Dialogue session between Hezbollah, Future Movement
– Bomb attack on police vehicle in Turkey’s Diyarbakir.
– Series of deadly explosions in Iraq kills and injures more than 200.
– 3 booby-trapped cars target military in southeast Yemen
– EDL daily workers observe sit-in in Corniche-al-Nahr.
– Hezbollah declares death of Mustafa Badreddine.
– – 3 hand grenades tossed at residences of Lebanese Democratic Party and Progressive Socialist Party officials in Hasbaya.
– Clash and fire trade in Baalback’sSharawbeh Street.
– Second stage of municipal and mayoral elections kicks off in Mount Lebanon, several injured in broils at poll stations.
– Diplomat and intellect Clovis Maksoud passes away.
– Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra on state visit in Lebanon.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam receives letter from U.S. State Secretary John Kerry hereby reiterating commitment to helping Lebanon in displaced dossier.
– French President François Hollande welcomes Saad Hariri at Elysée.
– Lebanon chairs 39th round of Arab Youth and Sports Ministers’ Council.
– National dialogue table convenes in 18th round of talks.
– MP WalidJumblatt in Kuwait for meeting with Prince and senior officials.
– Terrorist act targets Egyptian aircraft between en route from Paris to Cairo.
– Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Rahi in South Africa on pastoral tour.
– United Nations flatly denies tendency to push Lebanon for nationalization or settlement of Syrian refugees.
– New Lebanese achievement in telecom field: LTE stations designed and developed by Lebanese engineers and first Microwave Links plant in the Middle East produced by Spectronite Company in Lebanon.
– Stun grenade dismantled in Ain-el-Hilwe Palestinian refugee camp.
– MP Amal Abu Zaid wins legislative sub-elections in Jezzine.
– 3rd stage of municipal and mayoral elections kicks off in South Lebanon.
– U.S. President Barack Obama confirms death of Taliban leader in Afghanistan Mullah Mansour in American airstrike.
– Customs Department seizes ton of Captagoncodrug powder.
– Two deadly explosion in Yemen’s Aden.
– PM Tammam Salam reiterates Lebanon not land for settlement during World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
– MTV crew survives armed ambush in Bekaa town of Hezzine.
– Presidential vacuum enters third year.
– 20 to 30 migrants killed in boat sinking accident off Libya shores.
– Locals block roads in Tripoli and Bhannin in protest at death of inmate FadiAkkoush in Roumieh jail.
– Obama makes historic visit to Hiroshima 71 years after atomic bombing.
– 6 soldiers injured as military tank veers off in Akkar.
– Youngsters break into electricity station in Baalback and ransack guard room.
– 4th and last stage of municipal and mayoral elections kicks off in North Lebanon.
– Real Madrid champion of Europe for 11th time.
– Migrants rescued in Manche sea off British coasts.
– EDL daily workers shut down facility.
– 3 killed in floods in west Germany.
– Kuwait Prince Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah meets Saad Hariri.
– Ex-Chad leader HisseneHabre sentenced to life for war crimes.
– Army receives engineering vehicles as donation by South Korea.
– 2 wounded as hand grenade detonates in Tripoli’s Zaheriyeh.
– International report declares nearly 46 million people trapped in modern slavery with two-thirds in Asia-Pacific region.
– One receives bullet in the leg during clash over traffic lane in Jounieh.
– 29th dialogue session between Hezbollah and Future Movement.
– Sit-in in Tripoli to call for release of activist Nabil Halabi.
– Enemy soldiers erect military tent in occupied part of Bastra farm.
– One terrorist killed and 3 arrested in preventive operations by Lebanese army in Akkar.
– Postponement of Parliament session to elect new president of the republic.
– Enemy soldiers open fire towards shepherd in Kfarshouba.
– 2 hand grenades found in front of Saint Georges Chruch in Roum town.
– Enemy patrols along border fence.
– One wounded as hand grenade mistakenly blows up in Ain-el-Hilwe.
– Clash at Ghazir stadium stops La Sagesse v/s Sporting basketball game.
– Stray bullet hits citizen in Brital, locals protest celebratory gunfire.
– Army finds guns and explosive belts inside farm in MajdalAnjar.
– Israeli soldiers comb area off border fence from Abbassieyh till Mtolleh.
– Israeli infantry soldiers snatch sheep herd from west Shebaa.
– Grenade tossed inside Ain-el-Hilwe.
– Army: 2.5 tons of cocaine, cannabis, and Captagon pills seized inside boat off Sidon.
– Enemy reinforcements at western edges of occupied Shebaa farms.
– One Ahrar al-Sham media official arrested in Baalback.
– 6,2-magnitude undersea earthquake hits Indonesia.
– Protest in front of Ministry of Interior and Municipalities against uncontrolled weapons.
– FAO delivers aids to households in Darayya.
– 120,000 jobs cut in UK between 2014 and 2016 due to oil slump.
– Explosive bomb targets BLOM in Verdun.
– UAV in Dubai skies causes international airport to stop for more than hour.
– 20 killed and 42 injured in shooting inside Florida nightclub.
– Enemy patrols roam at Shebaa farms edges.
– Saudi border guards intercept 122 migrants coming from Africa by sea.
– Policeman and female friend killed near Paris by extremist who declared loyalty to IS.
– UN General Assembly elects Fiji representative president of 71st round.
– Enemy troops resume construction of earthen barrier in Hamari border fence crossing.
– Dengue fever outbreak kills 17 and infects 1300 in Shabwah province in Yemen.
– U.S President Barack Obama receives Dalai Lama at the White House.
– UN confirms displacement of 80 thousand Sudanese from Darfur.
– Syria condemns presence of special French and German forces on its soil.
– Iranian-British employee accused of working on ousting regime in Iran.
– Clash develops into fist fight among protesters against transferring the Egyptian Hospital to Horsh Beirut.
– Russia declares 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo.
– Iran files complaints before Supreme Court of Justice over frozen assets in the U.S.
– Iran Revolution Guards Army: 12 terrorists and 3 soldiers killed in confrontations near Iraqi borders.
– Counterfeit $90k seized at Beirut airport with Russian passenger.
– Two injured in shooting during clash in Hermel.
– ISF officer killed in gun shooting in Jdaidet-al-Qayteh.
– 15 Kurdish forces killed in Daesh attack north Baghdad.
– Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi declares Fallujah freed of Daesh grip.
– Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsisentenced to life in prison in Qatar espionage case.
– Iran reaches agreement with Boeing to purchase 100 aircrafts.
– 14 killed in suicide attack in Kabul.
– Woman assumes post of Rome municipality chief for first time in Italy.
– Rise in temperature causes explosion of gas station in Berqayel.
– Jordanian escapes abductors in Baalback.
– 6 Jordanian soldiers killed and at least 14 injured in attack with booby-trapped car on border with Syria.
– North Korea launches two medium-range missiles.
– Between 20 and 50 injured in shooting inside cinema complex in Germany’s Viernheim.
– Army bombs vehicle with terrorists aboard between Arsal outskirts and Ras Baalback.
– Fierce battles between Daesh and al-Nusra Front in Arsal outskirts, many casualties reported.
– Britain exits EU, and Paris, London, and Frankfurt stocks tumble.
– Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: U.S. sanctions have no effect on Hezbollah.
– Pope Francis condemns Armenian Genocide before Armenian President.
– Series of explosions leaves martyrs in al-Qaa.
– Grenade attack on pub in Malaysia wounds 8.
– Turkey says ready to pay Russia compensation for downed Russian jet in Syria.
– Turkey inks normalization ties deal with Israel.
– Deadly suicide attack inside mosque in Iraq.
– Several municipalities impose curfew on Syrians.
– Ataturk airport explosions kill many.
– Iran calls off flights to Ataturk airport.
– 4-magnitude earthquake recorded in Lebanon, Deir al-Qamar located as epicenter.
– Army foils two terrorist operations against renowned tourist facility in a populated area.
– 81 killed in blast near Mogadishu.
– ISF patrol intercepted in Baalback, inmate escapes.
– Daesh claims responsibility for shooting dead Father Rafael Moussa in Sinai’s Arish.
– Fraud detected at “Mecanique” center: 3281 receipts recorded as paid, absent from treasury.
– European Union extends sanctions on Russia for 6 months. Moscow deems decision absurd, illegal.
– Scientific Research Council: Toxic fish swim along coast, excrete poisonous substance.
– Citizen lured from Jounieh to Baalbek, $ 80,000 ransom requested.
– People killed in shooting at cafe in Serbia.
– More than 119 people killed in explosion in Baghdad; Daesh claims responsibility.
– Israel bombs two Syrian military posts after shooting in Golan.
– Suicide bomber blows himself up near mosque in Qatif, and another near security headquarters at Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.
– United Nations: 30,000 foreign terrorist fighters in Syria and Iraq.
– Clashes, shooting in Akkar mountains against backdrop of municipal elections.
– Gunmen kill Lebanese from al-Hujairi family in Arsal.
– Israeli combing operation along west Shebaa borderline.
– Two killed in explosion at Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Iran.
– French diplomatic source: Saudi Arabia, Iran do not oppose principle of political solution in Lebanon.
– Three US policemen killed, seven wounded in snipers’ shooting in Dallas.
– Fatah leader, Abdallah Sultan, survives assassination attempt in Mieh w Mieh camp, one person wounded.
– STL: Appeals Chamber terminates proceedings against Badreddine proven dead through sufficient evidence submitted before court.
– Journalist Elie Slaibi dies.
– French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Lebanon: Each side must bear its own responsibility; political solution can only be achieved within framework of dialogue among Lebanese.
– Election session adjourned.
– United States opens door to 10,000 Syrian refugees for current fiscal year.
– Belgian Interior Ministry: 457 Belgians among foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
– Evacuation of three thousand people from summer camps in South of France after fire eruption.
– More than 100 people crushed to death in attack during National Day celebrations in Nice.
– Attempted coup in Turkey.
– Army violently shells militants’ posts in Ras Baalbek and Wadi Rafeq mountains.
– Intensive Enemy patrols between Ramtha and Al-Alam.
– 31 people poisoned in Eqlim El-Kharroub.
– Fire shooting, shelling in Sharawina neighborhood, two Syrians injured.
– Sweden decides to open its embassy in Beirut to enjoy full authority at end of this year.
– Apple growers in Labweh block international road in protest against low prices.
– Health Minister, Wael Abou Faour, announces draft for comprehensive hospitalization coverage for elderly.
– Controlled tension in Ain al-Hilweh after assassination of Al-Bahti.
– 100 million Euros from Germany to support World Food Programme in Lebanon.
– 29th dialogue session between Hezbollah and Future.
– Syrian Foreign Ministry: French warplanes commit bloody massacre in Tokhan Al-Kubra.
– More than 3,200 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.
– Turkish army shells positions of PKK in Iraq for first time since failed coup.
– Day workers stage sit-in and set up tent in front of Hayek’s office after refusing to respond to their demands.
– Suspicious bag found in Shiah containing ammunition.
– Sit-in for day workers at EDL headquarters.
– Army cordons off vessel coming from Turkey at Tripoli port.
– German police: Several people killed in shooting in Munich.
– Arrest of Captagon smuggler to the Gulf owing to Lebanese-Saudi coordination.
– PM Tammam Salam heads to Mauritania to participate in Arab Summit.
– At least 12 people killed in suicide attack in Baghdad.
– One of Al-Nusra terrorist front’s top leaders in Army’s grip.
– Former MP, Hassan Yacoub, released.
– Prime Minister Tammam Salam proposes before Arab summit in Nouakchott forming Arab organization to develop idea of creating accommodation for displaced Syrians inside Syrian territory, convincing international community of said step.
– Saudi Interior Ministry announces death of five border guards in clashes with hostile elements in Najran.
– Strike, sit-in by EDL day-workers.
– Slaughter of priest inside church in France; Daesh claims responsibility.
– Study by Union of Arab Banks: 10 Lebanese among 85 Arab banks within 1000 largest banks in the world.
– Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb assigned to head waste committee.
– Bombings in Qamishli and Damascus.
– Claims filed against security forces’ officers, elements on offense of failing to take necessary legal proceedings against owners of illegal internet.
– Syrian President issues decree to grant amnesty to all those who carried weapons and turned themselves in.
– France and Britain call on Damascus and its allies for immediate lifting of siege imposed on Aleppo.
– MP Sleiman Frangieh announces from Ain al-Tineh his non withdrawal from presidential race.
– 3 dead, including NATO representative, in munitions explosion in Ukraine.
– Day-worker, Rabih Sayegh, transferred to hospital after hunger strike.
– Two people arrested in Belgium on suspicion of planning attacks.
– “We Want Accountability” activists set up tents in Riad Solh until end of dialogue sessions.
– Families of kidnapped military elements stage sit-in at Riad Solh Square.
– One Saudi officer, six soldiers killed in Yemeni infiltration attempt.
– Foiled attempt to smuggle hundreds of thousands of Captagon pills packed inside plastic bags.
– Talal Erslan, chairman of the Democratic Party by acclamation.
– Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee at the Iranian Parliament, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, in Beirut .
– International Organization for Migration (IOM): More than 4,000 migrants and refugees have died since the beginning of the year.
– British Embassy announces 60 million pounds to be provided to Education for All Children Programme in Lebanon.
– 10 wounded during football match between Haruf and Dweir.
– Wounded in clashes between two families in Baalbek.
– Major Army operation in Atta Valley leads to arrest of Lebanese and Syrian Daesh masterminds; one of them dies in the process.
– Olympics games begin at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
– Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, inaugurates Lady of Durr Maronite Church in Mukhtara after restoration works sponsored by MP Walid Jumblatt on the 15th anniversary of the Mountain Reconciliation.
– Execution of Iranian nuclear scientist convicted of spying for the United States.
– 43rd session to elect President adjourned.
– Historic meeting between Russian, Turkish presidents in St. Petersburg.
– Army receives shipment of US military aid worth $ 50 million.
– Army helicopter destroys Al-Nusra Front post in Arsal mountains.
– Vessel burns inside port of Tripoli.
– Russian Parliamentarian: Russia will transform Khmeimim airport in Syria into permanent air base.
– Kataeb activists gather in front of ‘Forum de Beirut’ to protest sea reclamation by waste.
– Abbot Naamtallah Hashem elected as president of Maronite Order.
– Saudi Arabia bans 3 women from joining extremists in Syria.
– Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, from Bint Jbeil: We are committed to Aoun as President. Berri is our candidate for House Speaker post, and we are open in terms of premiership for next government, after president’s election.
– Minister Gebran Bassil appointed as head of the Free Patriotic Movement.
– Waste returns to streets.
– Soldier killed, 3 wounded in attack on two Turkish tanks in Syria.
– Sadr family files lawsuit against Hannibal Gaddafi.
– Artist Abdullah Nabbout, one of Les Diseurs theater’s founders, dies.
– STL sentences Ibrahim Al-Amin to 20,000 Euros and al-Akhbar newspaper to 6000 Euros.
– 6,500 migrants rescued off Libyan coast.
– Largest Shawarma Sandwich in the world made by Cultural Club in Jdaydet Akkar.
– Lebanon reaps two gold, one silver and one bronze medals at Arab Fencing Championship in Jordan.
– Dead and wounded in roadside bomb on Ksara roundabout in Zahle.
– Speaker Nabih Berri on al-Sadr’s disappearance commemoration: Presidency not enough, we need package-deal.
– Assistant US Secretary of State for Political Affairs in Lebanon.
– Moqtada al-Sadr in Beirut.
– Child manages to sneak into airplane, travel to Turkey aboard Middle East Airlines without passport.
– Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi receives indictments related to explosions of Al Takwa and Al Salam mosques.
– Lebanese citizen sinks during sea trip in Turkey, 7 others resued.
– Pope Francis declares Mother Theresa holiness.
– Sit-in for cab drivers in front of mechanical inspection centers.
– House Speaker Nabih Berri hopes from Mps to grant the Lebanese Army half their allocation for October.
– National dialogue sessions suspended after FPM declares boycott.
– Boobytrap targets car in Majdel Anjar, wounds 3.
– UNICEF: 50 million children in the world taken away from their roots.
– Postponing the 44th parliamentary session devoted to elect president.
– Fouad Makhzoumi obtains peace award for international works and communication between religions.
– Spy apparatus for enemy detected in liberated Lebanese lands.
– Protest in front of Burj Hammoud landfill upon a call from Kataeb party.
– Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi asks Finance Minister to correct the memorandum concerning lands in Akoura: the state should put terms to violations against lands belonging to Jounieh Patriarchate in Lassa.
– Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk signs a request for deactivating Democratic Arab Party and Tawhid Movement, Minkara branch.
– Number of people killed in an explosion in Turkey on first days of Adha.
– Ankara demands from Washington to arrest Fathalla Golan for his role in the coup attempt in Turkey.
– Israeli aggression in Syrian lands.
– 6 wounded children after collapse of aero plaything in a Luna park in Tripoli.
– Starting removing trash off streets.
– Landmine explodes under vehicle for UNIFIL Spanish unit in outskirts of Ebel Al Saki.
– 4 triumphs for Lebanon in chess Olympiad in Baku.
– 9 conditions of drowning as a boat falls facing Sidon sea castle.
– Wheel game in Fantasy World Luna Park collapses and wounds a number of people.
– Fleet composed of women moves from Barcelona to break the siege against Gaza Strip.
– Statement for Ambassadors of great countries and Kaag after meeting with Premier Tammam Salam: Big support for Lebanon’s stability, presidential election and parliamentary elections on date.
– 4 wounded as bomb explodes in Al Noor Camp for displaced Syrians.
– Golden and bronze medal for Lebanese delegation partaking in India International Innovation Fair.
– PM Tammam Salam heads to New York to partake in UN General Assembly.
– French Embassy opens doors of Pine Residence for the first time for Lebanese on the Day for European Heritage.
– Ban Ki Moon: UN Summit for Displaced People is big accomplishment, more than 244 million migrants, 65 million forced migrants.
– British Defense Minister: We shared coalition strike on Deir Al Zour without hitting Syrian army units.
– UN: Shelling against humane convoys in Syria considered could be considered as war crime. Suspending all humanitarian aid convoys due to air raids, Red Cross declares death of 20 civil people by air raid.
– Lebanon ranks first in throwing championship in Tunisia.
– Fire trade between citizens and displaced Syrians in Dawhat Aramoun wounds a number of people.
– Dialogue session between Future and Hezbollah.
– Cab drivers block roads in different regions.
– More than 144 dead after drowning of boat carrying illegal migrants facing Egyptian coastline.
– Arresting Daesh emir in Ain Al Helwe.
– Public Health Ministry wins appreciation degree in food safety conference in Sultanate of Oman.
– Clashes between security forces and protesters from We Want Accountability at Banks Street.
– PM Tammam Salam from New York warns of hazardous Lebanese condition especially amidst heavy displaced Syrians presence.
– First Lebanese flag raised high on Arz Falougha Mount.
– Protest in front of Costa Brava against unhealthy landfills.
– Assassination of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar in front of Palace of Justice in central of Amman.
– Protest for apple farmers against failure to sell apple.
– Russian annulled ban on importing vegetables and fruits from Egypt.
– Sit-in for land transportation sector in front of mechanical inspection centers.
– Former Israeli President Shimon Peres passes away.
– Public Health Minister Wael Abu Faour: Total hospitalization coverage for each one over 64 years as of October 2016.
– Postponing 45th presidential election session.
– Ukraine: Dutch investigation shows Russia’s direct involvement in targeting Malaysian plane.
Moscow considers investigation as biased and politicized.
– 1 silver and 3 bronze medals for Lebanese Olympic commission that headed to Vietnam to partake in Asian Muay Thai championship.
– 3 wounded due to landmine outburst near barbed wire in Mtelle.
– Decision for National Defense Ministry to extend Lebanese Army Chief General Jean Kahwagi’s mandate.
– French warplane fleet “Charle de Gaulle” starts anti-Daesh operations.
– PM Tammam Salam launches national day for protecting Litani basin: condition catastrophic.
– Houthi attack against Emirati boat near Bab Al Mandeb.
– One dead, 2 wounded due to dispute on airport road.
– Protest for apple farmers in Upper Metn against failure to sell apple.
– Iran takes legal action against 400 officials due to rise in their salaries.
– Apple farmers in Dar Al Waseaa block road to protest failure to sell apple.
– Debate between Bkerki and Ain Al Tineh.
– Pope Francis makes sudden visit to regions badly affected by earthquakes in central Italy.
– Former PM Saad Hariri meets Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
– Fatal clashes in Arsal highlands between terrorist gunmen.
– UN Special Coordinator to Lebanon Sigrid Kaag concludes her visit to Iran in the context of her regional and international discussions over Lebanon.
– Iranian President Hasan Rouhani heads to Vietnam in an official visit for 2 days.
– Maronite Bishops address officials to awaken their concience: For abiding by Constitution and Pact and electing a president without conditions.
– Sheikh Bassam Al Tarras again arrested for investigations.
– Cabinet appoints Professor Fouad Ayyoub as President for Lebanese University.
– EU allocates 12 million Euros to support UNRWA for rebuilding Nahr Al Bared camp.
– Security Council agrees by consensus on appointing Antonio Gutierrez as UN General Secretary.
– More than 140 killed, around 525 wounded after raids on council of condolences in Sanaa.
– Daesh senior Abu Bakr Al Rikkawi found killed in Arsal. Rikkawi was responsible for killing martyr ISF member Zaher Ezzedine in Arsal’s square.
– President Vladimir Putin in Turkey to look into energy file despite divisions over Syria.
– Israeli occupying forces places cameras for observation facing Hosn Al Wazzani park.
– Sit-in for farmers from Arsal in front of Serail.
– Security coordination between Lebanon and KSA foils organized attempt to smuggle Captagon.
– 3 wounded after individual dispute witnessing armed emerge in Sawfar.
– Pope Francis calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria.
– Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah: Some betting on our tiresome, number of our martyrs, and financial and economic siege imposed on us. For this reason I say we won’t be tire nor defeated nor retreat.
– Cabinet: Allocating 10 billion LBP for paying compensations to Arsal farmers.
– Appointing Portuguese Antonio Gutierrez as UN Secretary General.
– 4 killed in Ashkout due to conflicts between neighbors and dog annoy.
– Former PM Saad Hariri in Paris.
– Egyptian Poet Farouk Shousha passes away.
– 9 Egyptian soldiers killed by attack on military checkpoint in North Sinaa.
– 19 killed in suicidal explosion targeting council for condolences in North of Baghdad.
– Rifi: March 8 candidate won’t be able to enter Baabda Palace, we won’t give nation to Iran and Syrian regime.
– MP Sleiman Frangieh: I am still candidate to presidential elections, I won’t retreat, decisive word on October 31.
– FPM supporters gathering on road to Baabda Palace.
– Rockets launched towards 3 American war boats in Red Sea.
– Emiri decree issued in Kuwait to dissolve National “Umma” Council.
– Army sergeant killed by bullits from gunmen in Arsal.
– Sit-in for land transportation union in front of mechanical inspection centers.
– Killing and wounding a big number of Daesh members as Lebanese Army targeted their locations.
– Attack against Daesh in Mosul starts.
– UN: Declaring ceasefire in Yemen for 72-hour period apt to renewable.
– Army arrests leader in Nusra Front after ambush in Arsal.
– Former PM Saad Hariri declares support for General Michel Aoun as President for the Republic.
– Arresting network of 8 Syrians planning to target Lebanese interior by a series of suicidal bombs.
– Sit-in in front of UNRWA in Nahr Al Bared to complete building the camp.
– US Secretary of State John Kerry expresses warnings regarding presidential elections in Lebanon after former PM Saad Hariri’s announcement of support for General Michel Aoun as president.
– House Speaker Nabih Berri in Geneva to partake in International Parliamentary Union works.
– Pope Francis: Shocked due to violence against Christians and Muslims in Iraq.
– Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah: We will go to upcoming parliamentary session to elect General Michel Aoun as president for the republic. We won’t reject Saad Hariri as prime minister even though it is something risky to us.
– Head of the Bloc of Reform and Change General Michel Aoun visits Hezbollah leader Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah to thank him for his support.
– Foiling attack against Daesh in Karkouk.
– Head of Marada Movement MP Sleiman Frangieh confirms his nonwithdrawal from presidential battle.
– Syrian truck carrying Captagon found in Tripoli seaport moving to KSA.
– 2200 migrants facing Libya rescued yesterday, 16 corpses found.
– Arresting most 2 dangerous drug traders in South after raiding their bases in Sharhabil.
– 22 children among those killed by raid targeting school in Northern West of Syria.
– Around 100 migrants lost in sea facing Libya.
– Saudi Thamer Al Sabhan in Beirut delegated to follow up presidential election.
– Singer and Composer Melhem Barakat passes away at 74.
– Arresting network of human traffickers and prostitution in Maameltein.
– Head of Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt after receiving Head of Bloc of Reform and Change General Michel Aoun: Majority of Democratic Gathering and Progressive Socialist Party will vote for General Aoun.
– Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah in meeting dignitaries from Bekaa region: For removing away from any perpetrator the cover of any family, tribe or party.
– French President Francois Hollande confirms that France won’t accept camps for refugees on its lands.
– General Michel Aoun elected as President for the Republic.
– Mass cemetery found in Zahle.
– President of the R
It is an honor to co-chair this regional meeting in Europe organized jointly by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).
As Chair of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade (TFCIT), it is also a pleasure to welcome our partners who are here with us this week to mobilize our collective commitment to strengthen international cooperation across sectors to combat the pernicious effects of illicit threats to our economies and communities.
Let me also extend special thanks to the WCO’s Enforcement sub-directorate, and to Ms. Ana Hinojosa of the Compliance and Facilitation directorate, for their leadership internationally on law enforcement and customs security issues.
It is important to recognize the accomplishments of the WCO in building consensus among its members, and promoting a vision of smart, integrated, and coordinated customs administrations in the global fight against illicit trade and criminal networks.
The WCO’s coordination of enforcement activities, such as Operation Gryphon II (countering illicit tobacco) and recent successes seen in Operation Chimera (targeting light weapons and cash and bearer negotiable instruments) are a clear testament to the continued success of this vision.
Illicit Trade in Europe and Beyond
The growth of the global illegal economy is one of the most daunting challenges we face today.
As we have advanced the work of the OECD TFCIT across source, transit and demand markets, we continue to see evidence of how today’s global illegal economy is imperiling many of our shared interests. Illicit Trade is evolving into a convergence, a multi-dimensional matrix connecting an incredible array of illicit actors, networks, black market facilitators, and complicit financial hubs at critical nodes measured in space and time.
Tackling the issue of illicit trade in Europe and beyond has never been more timely. Criminal networks that are engaged in the illicit trafficking of narcotics, counterfeits, humans, illicit tobacco and illegal wildlife trade, pose not only an economic threat that results in loss of revenue for governments and businesses alike, but also harms the well-being, health, safety, and security of ordinary citizens.
As these threat networks converge, we too must unite. The pipelines linking these bad actors and threat networks slice through borders and undercut our shared interests. One threat bleeds into another.
For example, the illicit trade in products such as counterfeits, illicit tobacco, or antiquities sold across European, and other markets, fuel webs of corruption and criminality – and in some cases, finances terrorist activities across the Middle East and Africa.
Reports in recent years have shown how the trafficking of cultural heritage artifacts, such as stolen antiquities from Iraq, Syria, and Libya, have helped to finance violent campaigns by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). One of the hubs for selling stolen cultural artifacts and antiquities is reportedly located here in Brussels. A few weeks ago, there were also troubling reports of Italian organized criminal networks exchanging arms for antiquities with violent extremist groups in Libya.
Other forms of illicit trade, such as organized crime and corruption associated in sport or counterfeiting, pose considerable threats to European economic prosperity and physical security. Over the years, counterfeit and pirated goods have not only helped terror groups stay in business, but have enabled them to finance their attacks in Europe and other regions.
On the economic security front, findings from the 2016 OECD study on the trade in pirated and counterfeit goods found that some 5% of imports in the European Union, totaling $116bn were fakes. Innovation-based economies across this continent which rely on the protection of their creative property and brands from copyright and trademark infringement are suffering significant losses that negatively affect jobs and investment.
From a convergence perspective, the trade in counterfeits must also be seen in the larger context of social, economic, ethical and security harms left behind from criminal and illicit actors.
It is not only the loss of revenue or profits that we must concern ourselves with, but how illicit trade impacts the integrity of markets and supply chains; puts our communities’ health and safety at risks (fake medicines, defective electronics or auto parts, counterfeited pesticides, contaminated food stuff); subverts human rights through reliance on forced labor, exploitation of children, human trafficking, and unsafe working conditions; and endangers the environment through corrupt practices and by way of unregulated manufacturing conditions, or the dumping of hazardous materials. All these outcomes threaten our common security.
Added together, each form of illicit activity, is not just individually dangerous, but converges to represent a far greater threat.
Update on the Task Force’s Work: Prosecuting the Fight Against Illicit Trade
As some of you may know, the OECD TFCIT was created with the intent of charting the flows of illicit trade in order to better quantify the risks, illicit markets, actors and networks that thrive in the shadows of global trade.
The next phase of the Task Force aims to analyze and study the policies and measures needed to counter illicit trade in a bid to provide recommendations on the institutional capacity for countermeasures.
Many of the discussions held here today will directly influence the work and research of the Task Force: topics such as the effectiveness of penalties and sanctions on illicit trade, the ties between illegal wildlife trafficking and corruption, and the supply chain vulnerabilities of Free Trade Zones, all of which are the subject of ongoing research and analysis by the OECD.
I hope that we can expand the network of the OECD TFCIT by adding new members and stakeholders, so as to develop fresh ideas for countering illicit trade.
I encourage all of you to contribute actively to these discussions in order to ensure that the policy points raised here are integrated more fully into the second phase of our Task Force’s work program, and to ensure that they are reflected in the next generation of OECD research.
Leveraging the work of the Task Force into Global Partnerships
In the coming year, building on our strategic engagement this week with the WCO, the European Union and the European Parliament, we also anticipate strengthening public-private partnerships to counter illicit trade in Southeast Asia. This objective will be advanced in partnership with the APEC and ASEAN economies through the APEC Pathfinder dialogue. Similarly, we hope to work with other committed intergovernmental organizations, business alliances and civil society groups to fight against the illegal economy across the Middle East, Africa and other regions of the world.
This work could not be undertaken without the dedication, hard work and cooperation of the governments and intergovernmental organizations present here today. The United States joins the OECD and WCO in applauding the leadership of European Parliament for elevating awareness on the harms of illicit trade, and for mobilizing energies to target the dark side of globalization.
In closing, I offer my thanks to all of you and urge your continued dedication to this important work. Your contributions to this policy dialogue will guide our common path forward.
Thank you.Read more
Delegates in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) described today the myriad challenges they faced in combating the illicit drug trade and the related scourges of terrorism and human trafficking, calling for more cooperation and people-centred approaches, as they held their general discussion on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.
Opening the day-long debate via video-conference from Vienna, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that April’s General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem had advanced integrated and rights-based approaches. Notably, it reinforced the global commitment to the three international drug control conventions, and offered a “robust” framework for working towards the 2019 target dates set by the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan.
For its part, UNODC was determined to deliver, he said. His Office was developing capacities for intelligence-led policing, special investigative techniques and border management, and responding to both Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on terrorism and violent extremism. But un-earmarked contributions had fallen drastically. “We need more regular budget resources”, he said, as well as general purpose and soft-earmarked funds to manage its core activities.
Against that backdrop, delegates drew attention to links between drugs and crime, on the one hand, and terrorist activities and risks for insecurity of countries – and indeed entire regions – on the other. Afghanistan’s delegate described the terrorist threat in his country as “real and growing fast”, with proceeds from illicit drugs fuelling the insurgency. To break those linkages, Niger’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, recommended intensifying efforts to freeze assets derived from such illegal activities.
A number of delegations described progress they had made in seizing drugs and financial assets, with Iran’s representative noting that on average, more than 80 per cent of the world’s opium had been seized in his country. It had sustained huge losses fighting drug trafficking “merchants of death”. Speakers from Morocco and Bolivia also highlighted the significant seizures, while Pakistan’s delegate said his Government had confiscated more than 342 tons of illicit drugs in 2015 alone.
In that context, delegates also stressed the need for stronger accountability to end impunity, with Egypt’s representative advocating better regional cooperation to fight corruption and achieve justice. Venezuela’s delegate was among several to argue for shared responsibility, citing his country’s decades-long commitment to collaboration, while Colombia’s delegate highlighted the important role of civil society in assessing such issues. There was a need to build a new consensus around tackling drugs and crime, he said.
Jamaica’s representative, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), supported drug-control policies that balanced development concerns with human rights and justice.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Singapore (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), United States, Russian Federation, Qatar, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Liechtenstein, Peru, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Brazil, Kenya, Syria, Israel, Maldives, China, Italy, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Iraq, Thailand, Singapore, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, Japan, Qatar, Libya, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, Turkey, Nigeria, Brunei Darussalam, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Algeria, Tajikistan, Nepal, Netherlands, Myanmar, Philippines, Ecuador, Sudan, Senegal, Ukraine, Malaysia, and Bangladesh, as did representatives of the European Union and the Holy See.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) will reconvene at 10 a.m. Monday, 10 October, to begin its consideration of advancement of women.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to begin its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice and on international drug control. Before it were reports of the Secretary-General on the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/71/94); United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/71/121); Technical assistance for implementing the international conventions and protocols related to counter-terrorism (document A/71/96); Implementation of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, with particular reference to the technical cooperation activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (document A/71/114); and Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons (document A/71/119).
It also had before it a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on its sixth session (document A/71/120).
On international drug control, the Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/71/316).
YURY FEDOTOV, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), speaking via video conference from Vienna, said it had been a challenging year in crime prevention and criminal justice, and the fight against drugs. The recent outcome document of the Special Session of the General Assembly had helped to advance the rule of law and a rights-based approach to addressing those problems. It reinforced the global commitment to the three international drug control conventions, and offered a robust framework for moving forward in support of both the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, and the 2019 target date set by the Political Declaration and Action Plan to counter the world drug problem.
For its part, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs was already involved in the follow-up, he said, which involved United Nations entities, international and regional organizations and non-governmental organizations. UNODC and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) had fast-tracked HIV/AIDS responses among people who used drugs and those in prison. The Special Session and the 2030 Agenda had provided new impetus to alternative development as a means of reducing illicit cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, and providing legitimate income opportunities for marginalized communities.
Recalling a number of high-level events, including the sixth Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, at which the second cycle of the review mechanism to address prevention and asset recovery was launched, he stressed that UNODC was determined to deliver. While extra-budgetary funding had tripled in the past decade, un-earmarked contributions had fallen “drastically” and the Office struggled to ensure the sustainability of some of its regional offices. “We need more regular budget resources”, he said, as well as general purpose and soft-earmarked funds in order to manage its core activities.
The representative of Mexico said cooperation and coordination were a matter of priority. He had observed in the global drug report a focus on new psychoactive substances and said it was important to have a deeper analysis on that issue.
The representative of Colombia considered UNODC an important ally for efforts undertaken in the country. He welcomed discussion of the Commission to hold a three-week session and examine persistent challenges. He asked about UNODC’s plans with other United Nations entities to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of the Special Session’s outcome.
Mr. FEDOTOV replied that UNODC was active in Mexico and Colombia, citing its national country programs and offices. On the outcome of the Special Session, he reiterated the need to strengthen partnerships on the ground, expressing his commitment to work closely with United Nations partners to implement the outcome. UNODC was working closely with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of the country teams.
COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said development depended on the creation of an environment conducive to social and economic growth. CARICOM member States faced significant challenges stemming from organized crime in the region, notably illicit drugs, the illegal trade and smuggling of small arms, human trafficking, and money laundering. To address those issues, Governments in the region had been forced to divert resources from other pressing development activities, such as investment in health and education. Greater efforts should be placed on addressing the root causes of crime.
He went on to say that money laundering and other financial crimes required an international response. Many CARICOM States faced economic calamity as a result of “de-risking” practices of correspondent banks in Europe and North America, which were unwilling to expose themselves to fines imposed for possible illicit activities by “third party clients”. Turning to the world drug problem, he noted that it was a common and shared responsibility, adding that CARICOM supported drug-control policies which balanced development and socio-economic concerns, and upheld human rights and justice. He recommended that the General Assembly give early consideration to the follow-up to the current ten-year Global Strategy, which would expire in 2019.
JOSEPH TEO (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), affirmed the Association’s commitment to combat transnational crime. He cited in that regard, the region’s dedicated plan of action on the issue, regular ministerial-level meetings, conventions on trafficking in persons and counter-terrorism and mechanisms to promote the rights of women and children. A working group on cyber-crime had come to the fore with a week hosted by Singapore this month.
On countering drugs, he said that leaders of the region aimed for a drug-free community through a zero-tolerance policy, with mechanisms to combat the drug score continuously reinforced. The region strongly supported international action and conventions, although it realized that there was no one-size-fits-all approach to the issue. Each State had to decide and implement policies that best served its individual needs, based on the unique circumstances and norms of its society. Continued cooperation with the United Nations was critical, particularly in sharing best practices through UNODC. He pledged that the Association would continue to work towards a safe Southeast Asia, where its citizens could live full lives without the fear of the influence of drugs and crime.
ABDALLAH WAFY (Niger), speaking on behalf of the African Group, took note of the reports’ recommendations. “Development cannot be achieved without security,” he said, noting that conflict resolution, and the rule of law and good governance were essential in working towards development. Many African countries had found it challenging to address crime and he noted with concern that the resources needed to implement the relevant outcomes were still lacking. Assets involved in crime must be frozen in order to prevent terrorist activities. High income equality and weak Government controls only exacerbated the situation. As drug problems affected young people, with serious health consequences, the Group aimed to reduce drug use, trafficking and related crimes. It also sought to reduce the arms trade.
In the area of drug control, he said there was a focus on cannabis, noting that many countries lack the health care capacity to deal with addiction. Addressing drug offenses was a challenge, as it led to crowding in prisons. Recalling that a unified position had been taken during the recent Special Session, he said the approach to tackling drugs and crime should consider the well-being of people. There was also a need to address the link among drug trafficking, corruption, organized crime and terrorist activities.
GARRETT O’BRIEN (European Union) welcomed the call made by the General Assembly Special Session in its outcome document for risk and harm reduction measures, such as medication-assisted therapy programmes, injecting equipment and antiretroviral therapy. The document’s recommendations on access to controlled medicines for pain relief and sentencing for persons convicted of drug-related offences were also positive steps forward. He reiterated the importance of mainstreaming gender and age perspectives into drug policies and engaging civil society in drug policy formulation, underlining the European Union’s opposition to the death penalty for any reason.
While he supported the Special Session’s recommendations for enhanced cooperation on drug supply reduction, he urged that more measures be taken to address the vulnerabilities that drove, enabled and perpetuated any form of organized crime. The emergence of hundreds of new psychoactive substances every year and the global nature of the marketplace for such substances required international cooperation to combat. Research and monitoring were also crucial to formulating drug policies. Finally, the international community needed to tackle the root causes of illicit drug crop cultivation, such as poverty and the weak rule of law. He called for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to engage a wider circle of United Nations bodies in the drug control debate, including UNODC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
WILLIAM R. BROWNFIELD (United States) said the United Nations played an important role in helping Member States promote fair, effective and accountable criminal justice systems, and respond to threats from crime, corruption, and drugs. He urged all parties to the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to include in their delegations representatives with responsibility for legal assistance and extradition. The recommendations of the General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem needed to be implemented, he said, urging States to accelerate the international scheduling of synthetic substances. The United States faced an epidemic of opioid abuse, including the illicit use of the synthetic drug, fentanyl. The international community had a common, shared responsibility to fight transnational organized crime and decrease the damage caused by drugs.
SHEYAM ELGARF (Egypt) emphasized the importance of having humane criminal justice systems and working with all regional and international mechanisms in the fight against drugs and crimes. It was crucial to provide resources to UNODC, she said, noting that voluntary contributions were also required for its technical assistance programs. She highlighted the need for enhanced regional cooperation to fight corruption and achieve justice, as well as support for the relevant regional institute. Greater efforts were needed in that area in order to prevent terrorist activities. She urged that more attention be given to conflicts and unprecedented levels of migration, adding that all affected countries must work together to protect the most vulnerable. She welcomed the review of progress made in developing a global strategy to counter the world drug problem, emphasizing that more efforts were needed to combat drug trafficking.
ELENA S. MUKHAMETZYANOVA (Russian Federation) said the rising threat of organized crime posed many challenges, and new international legal instruments should be adopted that took into account new features of criminal activity. She supported UNODC’s effort towards combating criminal activity, as well as the central coordinating role of the United Nations in global efforts to fight corruption. The Russian Federation noted the convening of a conference of parties on the Convention against Corruption, which served as a forum for discussion. She highlighted the intergovernmental nature of the Convention’s review mechanism, as it had proven to be an effective instrument for international cooperation. Drug trafficking was an aggressive form of transnational crime and the drug threat emanating from Afghanistan deserved special attention. Addressing the problem of Afghan drugs would be possible only through concerted international efforts, she added.
MAYANK JOSHI (India), noting the high level of drug use among young people and other segments of society, drew attention to the link between poverty and drug use. The Special Session outcome was a landmark achievement and he reiterated the importance of the relevant conventions in that context. Concrete policy directions were needed and India had developed a three-point initiative. In addition, he advocated effective responses to counter opiate and new synthetic drug use, stressing that transnational crime threatened the rule of law and democratic societies. Among other challenges, he cited concerns about trafficking in persons, cyber-crime, and attacks on cultural monuments.
JUAN JOSÉ GÓMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico) said his country had paid a high price for the international community’s failure to curb drug trafficking and use. In that context, he reaffirmed the principle of common but shared responsibility, noting that States must be supported, in line with the 2030 Agenda. The human rights and public health perspectives must also be supported. With a view to punishments for drug crimes, he reiterated Mexico’s rejection of the death penalty in any circumstance.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ BLANCO (Colombia) launched an appeal to assess the limits of drug policies and hold an evidence-based debate on the matter. Highlighting the important role of civil society in assessing such issues, he stressed the need to build a new consensus on tackling drugs and crime. Outstanding tasks required debate. The international community had to find a balanced approach that paid particular attention to vulnerable groups. New approaches also were needed to avoid the negative effects of drug use, with national specificities duly taken into account. Tackling drug trafficking was a matter of national security and the promotion of alternative crops would be positive turning point in such work, he said, noting that corruption must also be addressed and funds illegally acquired returned.
ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating with CELAC, underscored the need for robust international cooperation to counter transnational trafficking. Drug trafficking was the most costly form of transnational organized crime, as it threatened security and economic and social progress. She emphasized the importance of shared responsibility in combatting drug trafficking, and in particular, the need to eliminate demand in the developed North. Solutions should not involve militarizing countries, displacing rural communities or legalizing drugs. Drug control policies needed to appreciate the public health aspect of the problem, and prioritize prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social integration. Reiterating his support for existing legal frameworks for drug supervision and control, she warned against introducing new terms and actions whose meanings were ambiguous. Cuba had a zero-tolerance policy on drug production, consumption and trafficking, and thanks to the joint efforts of its public health, education, justice and internal order institutions, it had seen positive results in prevention. She reiterated Cuba’s readiness to cooperate with any State in the prevention of terrorism, but rejected unilateral lists of countries that supposedly had committed violations. Finally, she condemned the “wet foot/dry foot policy” that encouraged illegal and unsafe migration and trafficking of Cuban citizens to the United States.
MAHMOUD SAIKAL (Afghanistan) described the terrorist threat in his country as “real and growing fast”. The transnational nature of the problem and its links to the illicit drug trade made it crucial for States to work together with all available tools. The United Nations could develop a more workable approach to terrorism by focusing on those using it as a means to advance their hegemonic ambitions. Proceeds from illicit drugs fuelled insurgency in Afghanistan, he said, noting that UNODC had found that the bulk of opium poppy cultivation and opiate production occurred in provinces where security was weakest. Since 2015, he said, Afghanistan had carried out a national drug action plan to align law enforcement with education and public health. The Government was committed to building on its accomplishments and had taken steps to expand cooperation with other countries in the region in the areas of law enforcement and intelligence sharing, among others.
JUANA SANDOVAL (Nicaragua) said her Government was developing security strategies for fighting transnational crimes that undermined stability. The Nicaraguan model sought to contribute to regional peace and stability. In Nicaragua, crime prevention had been coordinated with civic participation. The world drug problem undermined socioeconomic stability, including in Nicaragua, which was neither a drug producing nor consuming country, but located in a transit region. Legalizing drugs was not a viable option because it contravened the provisions of existing international instruments, which made up the drug control system. The world drug problem was an integral part of transnational organized crime and she reaffirmed the principle of common but differentiated responsibility in that regard.
KATHRIN NESCHER (Liechtenstein) said the agenda items on drugs and crime were considered to be technical. However, the associated issues were real and affected actual people. Trafficking and human slavery were both grave human rights violations and obstacles to development, which could amount to security concerns, especially if they fuelled conflict and terrorism. Follow-up actions were needed to ensure accountability, she said, noting that the Special Session outcome was considered disappointing. The international approach must address health and well-being, yet more funds had been allocated to law enforcement. She expressed concern about the death penalty for drug-related crimes and called for an end to that practice, which violated human rights law. Corruption also must be fully addressed, in all forms and at all levels, particularly as it negatively impacted the enjoyment of human rights and development, she said, stressing that human rights concerns must be integrated.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said the illicit drug trade and other trans-border crimes, such as illegal logging, were one side of the coin; on the other side was consumption. That had caused suffering for thousands of people, he said, and the phenomenon had been worsened by a surge in new psychoactive substances. Unity among all counties was needed in order to tackle the world drug problem. Peru’s implementation of a national drug control strategy, which was currently being updated, had made positive results possible. Successful drug control policies focused on reducing supply and demand, as well as money laundering, among other aspects. The international community needed to promote a balanced approach based on scientific evidence and human rights, he said, cautioning against prioritizing one component over another.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus) said it was extremely important to assess progress in combatting organized transnational crime in order to advance development. Relevant Protocols must be implemented and issues identified in the implementation of related Action Plans. Urging a more comprehensive approach to tackling the illicit drug trade, he said Belarus planned to submit a draft resolution aimed at strengthening the family, with a view to helping children and youth affected by drug use.
Mr. AL MUHAIRI (United Arab Emirates) said the world drug problem was worrying for all countries, and it had worsened due to the growing numbers of drug users and new forms of drugs. Drugs had become a weapon for terrorist groups, which used them to fund their activities. Addressing that issue required countries to work together. Further, States must protect youth from falling prey to traffickers and smugglers. The United Arab Emirates continued to make strides in countering drug trafficking through rigorous national strategic plans, he said, underscoring the importance of gathering and sharing experiences. Large amounts of drugs and narcotics had been detected in 2016 and his country had stopped 300 couriers travelling through its airports. He underlined the resolve of the United Arab Emirates to uphold its international commitments.
BOUCHAIB ELOUMNI (Morocco) called the recent Special Session on the World Drug Problem an important step in advancing to the next phase in combatting drugs and crime. Increasing drug use and the emergence of new substances were major concerns, he said, stressing that more resources must be devoted to combating trafficking and transnational crime. In Morocco, a national security directive addressed transnational crimes, with major drug operations uncovered and punished as result. Significant amounts of drugs had been seized as well. Further, greater efforts had been made to end impunity, he said, noting that Morocco remained committed to providing health care for drug users.
CARLOS DUARTE (Brazil) said preventive policies focused on social and economic development and respect for human rights and justice should be at the centre of strategies to counter crime. If such strategies were to be effectives they had to be implemented with the support of civil society. He was particularly concerned about the vulnerability of refugees and migrants, and called for greater international cooperation to prevent human trafficking, modern slavery and sexual exploitation. While effective punishment was essential to prevent crime, he reiterated his opposition to the death penalty, stressing that Brazil was fully committed to implementing the Special Session outcome document. Also, drug policies must be based on scientific evidence and take into account the specific needs of women and vulnerable groups.
KOKI MULI GRIGNON (Kenya), associating with the African Group, said illicit drugs posed dangers to health, the environment and development. He reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to implement the three international drug control conventions that formed the basis of the world drug control strategy. Nationally, Kenya had taken measures to effectively coordinate and implement its drug control strategy, including by enacting the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, which had established a centre to identify the proceeds of crime, money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. He urged States to respond to challenges posed by the links between drug trafficking, corruption and those other forms of organized crime.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLIZ (Bolivia) drew attention to achievements made in the fight against drugs and crime, stressing that it was possible to address drug trafficking effectively. In Bolivia, a human rights-based approach had been integrated into national programs. While coca and related chemicals were not tolerated in public areas, the traditional use of coca had been recognized. The amount of drugs seized had significantly increased, he said, noting that drug trafficking laws had been strengthened and international partnerships had been pursued to address transnational crimes.
AMJAD QASSEM AGHA (Syria) said his country was dealing with crime resulting from Wahhabist ideology. The criminal activity was supported by armed groups sheltered by States known to all. Those armed groups had enslaved women and children destroyed cultural property and heritage. He urged States supporting those mercenaries to respect their commitments and apply relevant Security Council resolutions. Terrorism was a crime affecting all countries, but a more serious crime was the provision of weapons to armed groups by certain States. Further, humanitarian assistance systems were being used to ferry weapons to terrorists. Terrorist regimes and fatwas had contributed to human and organ trafficking across borders and within border zones, while authorities in neighbouring countries had turned a blind eye.
BERNARDITO AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that the narcotics trade was a war against society and he reaffirmed his opposition to legalization. Although drugs were an evil, the fight against drug trafficking must respect human dignity. Prevention was essential and Catholic organizations were active in both prevention and rehabilitation activities. The family was the bulwark for both prevention and treatment. Illicit drug abuse destroyed the fabric of individual families and communities, leading to the destabilization of society. He supported programmes to strengthen parenting skills as part of efforts to prevent the risk factors associated with drug abuse.
NIMROD BARKAN (Israel) shared best practices from his country’s drug treatment programmes for women. As women tended to abuse different substances and faced different living conditions from men, they required a different approach to recovery. By supporting separate treatment infrastructures designed especially for women – who often had suffered sexual exploitation, violence and trauma – Israel provided a safe, trigger-free recovery environment and was committed to sharing its best practices with other States. Every year, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs collaborated with UNODC to host courses on alcohol and drugs.
MARIYAM MIDHFA NAEEM (Maldives) said organized crime such as drug trafficking, trafficking of persons and money laundering was an ever-present threat to his island nation. The Government had criminalized trafficking of persons, money laundering, terrorism and the financing of terrorism, and had provided law enforcement with the means to combat those crimes effectively. This year, it had established the National Counter Terrorism Centre. The National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism was based upon propagation of moderate and progressive Islamic teachings, empowerment of women and youth, and increased preventive intervention. Safeguarding the tourism industry from terrorist attacks was also an important focus area. The Maldives, however, recognized the need to collaborate with other States and international organizations. The war against crime was not one that any country could win by itself.
ZHIQIANG LI (China) said the international community must step up cooperation and joint responses in the face of daunting challenges in crime prevention, criminal justice and drug control, despite progress in some areas. For that purpose, the Doha Declaration – adopted at the Thirteenth Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Doha, Qatar – must be effectively implemented and efforts to respond to new forms of crime must be intensified. In particular, he supported efforts to lay the legal foundation for cooperation in fighting cybercrimes such as telecom frauds. He also supported efforts to vigorously address wildlife crimes and illicit trafficking in cultural property. He called for the Convention against Corruption to be rigorously implemented, while maintaining that the review mechanism must respect the sovereignty of the States Parties and remain an intergovernmental process. In that regard, compliance review for the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime should draw on the model of the anti-corruption convention. Fugitive and asset recovery was an important focus of anti-corruption efforts. Supporting the international drug-control system, he opposed legalizing drugs but advocated a holistic approach to allowing access to medicinal drugs and prohibiting the diversion of controlled substances. In drug control, cooperation and shared responsibility were critical.
INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, recognized that effective crime prevention and criminal justice were fundamental to peace and security. Those issues were also important for advancing human rights and the 2030 Agenda. The human rights of vulnerable groups in particular must be protected, he said, especially women and migrants. He highlighted the links between trafficking and terrorism, adding that Italy sought to strengthen international cooperation with this year’s resolution on crime prevention and criminal justice. Better responses must be found to address corruption and fight impunity.
ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka) welcomed the Action Plan to Counter the World Drug Problem agreed upon in April 2015. The major challenge for his country was not the production of drugs, but trafficking. Sri Lanka had been used as a trans-shipment destination by international drug traffickers. The spill over of that trade had led to a serious domestic heroin problem. Sri Lanka had set up residential care treatment and rehabilitation services for drug dependents and was establishing a Centre for Sharing Intelligence on Drug Trafficking to support national institutions in South Asia and Southeast Asia. It aimed to reduce drug supply and use to minimum levels by 2020 through a strategy focused on the linkages between drug abuse, poverty reduction, crime prevention and health. Sri Lanka was working closely with UNODC, other United Nations entities and civil society in combatting drug problem.
JORGE SKINNER-KLEE (Guatemala) said that countries such as his own had assumed a disproportionate share of the struggle against drugs, due to being geographically located between producer and consumer countries. Hence the importance of cooperation at all levels to reduce the high cost associated with the phenomenon. The international community must continue to recognize the importance of concepts like judicial proportionality and pay special attention to the most vulnerable sectors of society. The General Assembly Special Session outcome document constituted a major achievement compared to previous declarations; among its achievements was the reaffirmation that the health and well-being of humanity were the goal of international conventions. Drug policies needed to be aligned with human rights, he said, stressing that priority should be accorded to reducing drug demand.
Mr. AYAD (Iraq) recalled the legal measures his country had taken to combat organized crime, including joining the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime in 2009. Iraq had enacted a general amnesty law in 2015, making it possible for offenders to return to public life, and had introduced amendments to the Criminal Trials Law to ensure justice and protect the rights of victims. Iraq also had established an independent integrity body under Parliamentary control to combat corruption and enhance Government transparency. Terrorism was of foremost concern and he underscored the dangerous linkages between terrorism and organized crime. The crimes committed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) constituted major human rights violations. He welcomed the technical assistance Iraq had received from UNODC and called for greater cooperation among all countries for better crime prevention in the fight against terrorism.
Mr. BUNYARITTHIPONG (Thailand), associating himself with ASEAN, said transnational crime impeded development and reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Combatting human trafficking was at the top of Thailand’s agenda. The prevention strategy focused on raising awareness about human trafficking and investing in initiatives to improve citizens’ life quality. The country was also working with the private sector to promote the idea that respect for human rights was good for business. Fair treatment of offenders, in accordance with United Nations standards and norms, should be an essential principle of crime prevention and criminal justice. Thailand had amended its Penitentiary Act to be in accordance with the Bangkok Rules and the Mandela Rules. Drug trafficking was also at the top of the national agenda, he said, noting that alternative development was important for addressing poverty and a lack of opportunity, which formed the root causes of the drug problem. Thailand submitted a draft resolution, “Promoting the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development”, to be tabled for adoption by the Assembly during its seventy-first session.
JUSTIN ONG (Singapore) said his country’s status as a major transport and transhipment hub had made it vulnerable to transnational crime. Trafficking in persons, drugs and cybercrime had each inspired the Government to take action through polices aimed at tackling transnational crime. One such policy focused on protecting the welfare of vulnerable persons. Another national initiative allowed the Government to target syndicates operating across jurisdictions and confiscate assets obtained through crime. Singapore was also working to protect individuals and families from drug use, wean abusers from their addiction and protect security in the region. Calling cyberspace the new frontier for transnational and organized crime, he underscored the need to hold discussions with key stakeholders on partnership and technical collaboration. Regional cooperation was critical in the fight against transnational crime, he said, as was stronger partnership among international law enforcement agencies.
NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan) said the need for international cooperation was greater than ever, as markets for certain drugs were expanding. Pakistan’s geographic location had made it both a victim of drugs and a transit country for opiates and cannabis. Having seized more than 342 tons of illicit drugs in 2015 alone, Pakistan was concerned over the emerging trend to legalize drug use. Growing drug demand would have a fallout effect on the region. Transnational organized crime was another challenge, and when it came to money-laundering and corruption, Pakistan had set up a Financial Monitoring Unit to cooperate with other countries in combating terrorist financing. He urged the international community to strengthen related mechanisms and emphasize UNODC’s role in such work.
Mr. DAHLWY (Saudi Arabia) said security challenges throughout the world underscored the need for all countries to cooperate to prevent crime through the rule of law. Moreover, crime hampered development. Indicators should be created to gauge the rule of law and crime prevention, as should an oversight mechanism to measure progress toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. For its part, Saudi Arabia was continuously developing its judicial sector and could share its expertise in the treatment of detainees and their reintegration into society. In terms of drugs, his country sought to raise public awareness about the consequences of drugs. He expressed concern about the linkages between drugs and terrorism, noting that Saudi Arabia had sentenced 12 Hezbollah members for their role in terrorism. The problem of drugs and crime could only be solved through cooperation and knowledge sharing, he added.
TAMTA KUPRADZE (Georgia) said that over the past decade her country had shown significant progress in implementing public and private sector reforms, and in reinforcing its commitment to public safety. The Government had undertaken several criminal justice reforms, modernizing the Criminal Code to make it more liberal. The Code now criminalized any incitement of hatred “once it creates obvious and direct threat of violence”. Those amendments aimed to enhance public order. Among the biggest achievements was the development of a legal framework regarding juveniles. Last year, Parliament had adopted Georgia’s first stand-alone and specialized Juvenile Justice Code, which expanded alternatives to criminal prosecution, such as mediation, and ensured that detention and imprisonment were used only as the last resort.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran) said his country had sustained huge losses while fighting drug trafficking “merchants of death”. On average, more than 80 per cent of the world’s opium had been seized in Iran. Regarding national demand for drugs, he noted that within the framework of a balanced strategy, a demand reduction programme had decreased HIV transmission. He called for the adoption of a balanced and comprehensive strategy away from political considerations. The heaviest burden caused by illicit drug trafficking fell on transit countries, such as Iran, he said, underlining UNODC’s lead role in combating the world drug problem and urging that it be preserved.
JUN SAITO (Japan), noting that his country would host the fourteenth United Nations Crime Congress in 2020, said the inclusion of perspectives on crime prevention and criminal justice in the 2030 Agenda had been important achievements of the thirteenth Congress. The joint commitment adopted at the General Assembly’s Special Session on the World Drug Problem, held in April, was another critical guiding principle, he said, pledging to take an active role in its implementation. Underscoring the importance of countering the spread of synthetic drugs – namely, new psychoactive substances and methamphetamine – he added that combating organized crime and terrorism was another urgent challenge. As this year’s Chair of the Group of 7 (G7), Japan had taken action to promote transparency and strengthen law enforcement cooperation and hoped to increase momentum in the fight against corruption.
Ms. ALKHATER (Qatar), noting that crime prevention and criminal justice contributed to sustainable development, said her country had adopted a number of measures to deliver on its responsibilities under the 2015 Doha Declaration. It had established a commission on transparency and accountability and had addressed corruption and funds transfer at the international level. Also, Qatar had ratified the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted legal measures to combat trafficking in persons and promulgated laws to prosecute those crimes. She welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations, noting that Qatar had applied them through its prevention programmes.
IBRAHIM K. M. ALMABRUK (Libya) said the world drug problem was a common and joint responsibility. Arriving at cooperation required fulfilling State needs in the areas of technical, specialized assistance and capacity-building. Underlining the importance of concerted efforts to halt trafficking in people, he said Libya looked forward to cooperating with neighbouring States on that matter. Libya also had an urgent need to cooperate with UNODC and to benefit from technical assistance, as well as assistance to institutions. In 2012, Libya had hosted sub-regional Office on Drugs and Crime for the Arab Maghreb region, enabling it to effectively combat drug trafficking. He expressed hope that the Office would resume its activities and contribute to overcoming difficulties.
LESETLA ANDREAS TEFFO (South Africa) said the rise in illicit trafficking in wildlife and forest crimes was a global priority, making it critical to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants did not lead to their extinction. South Africa was among 13 countries to participate in a global initiative to prevent human trafficking and migrant smuggling. On drugs, he strongly supported implementation of three international drug control conventions and the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan as the basis for international anti-drug action. Further, South Africa had initiated a mutual legal assistance agreement with 19 countries to curb transnational trafficking in precious metals, he said, highlighting the absence of an international regulatory framework for combatting such illicit trade.
RUSLAN BULTRIKOV (Kazakhstan) said organized crime, illicit drugs and human trafficking threatened international peace and security, undermining the rule of law and sustainable development. His country was implementing five institutional reforms under the “100 Concrete Steps” document to improve its judicial and law enforcement systems. It had decriminalized certain offenses and granted amnesty to more than 20,000 people. Kazakhstan took seriously the threat of human trafficking and had co-sponsored a Security Council resolution on human trafficking in the Mediterranean, which was adopted today. As a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Kazakhstan was involved in various international and regional programmes for countering international crime and narcotics trafficking.
JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA (Costa Rica) said his country had never sanctioned drug use as a crime; its approach was from a health care perspective. He welcomed ongoing interregional work carried out by coordination mechanisms, stressing that the Special Session outcome document had been a vital step in that regard and reflected new avenues. There was still a long way to go between now and 2019, when the 10-year plan would expire. The international community must focus attention on equitable sustainable development, he said, reiterating his country’s commitment to continued work on treating the worldwide drug problem.
MURAT UĞURLUOĞLU (Turkey) said that as a party to international instruments, his country had taken a decisive approach against crime, and had intensified its border protection measures. Security measures that did not address root causes, such as conflict, would only yield temporary success, he said, noting that the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime must be addressed. Terrorism violated people’s most fundamental rights. Turkey had long fought against terrorism and would continue its campaign against numerous groups. Terrorism could only be addressed through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
BANKOLE ADEOYE (Nigeria), associating himself with the African Group, called for comprehensive and holistic approaches to prevent crime and violence, and to strengthen criminal justice institutions. Nigeria had taken several measures to increase its capacity to address crime. The Government had reformed its criminal justice system through the Criminal Justice Act of 2015, as well as amended its extradition law and national legislation to comply with Article 44 of the Crime Convention. Its drug-control plan for the 2015 to 2019 period provided an integrated and comprehensive solution to a range of drug-related issues. He called for cross-border collaboration, intelligence sharing and judicial cooperation to strengthen law enforcement.
NAWAWI BOLHASAN (Brunei Darussalam) said he shared the concerns of other Member States regarding threats posed by trafficking and illicit use of drugs. The global drug problem required efforts on all levels – nationally, regionally and internationally – he said, adding that Brunei Darussalam at the same time respected the sovereignty of States to establish policies according to their own domestic context. The Government had a zero-tolerance approach to drugs, enabled by a comprehensive legal, policy and administrative framework. It was committed to combatting illicit drug use both regionally, through ASEAN, and on an international level, through various multilateral platforms.
ARSLANBEK UMETALIEV (Kyrgyzstan), drawing attention to the large coverage area of opium poppies in Afghanistan, said that country was a hotbed of smuggling on the so-called northern route. Drug expansion had become aggressive, and in response, Kyrgyzstan had an anti-narcotics plan that had been crafted in line with the Kyrgyz national framework. It was urgent to strengthen international cooperation. Kyrgyzstan was a contributor to regional organizations, and cooperated with regional UNODC programmes. He welcomed the outcome of the 5 October international conference on Afghanistan, where a new package of financial assistance had been agreed, expressing hope that some of the funds would also go towards combating drugs.
ZEBIB GEBREKIDAN (Eritrea), associating herself with the African Group, described Government efforts to build the criminal justice sector and prevent and combat crimes at home and beyond its borders. Among other things, Eritrea had taken measures to improve access to the justice system, including through expanding and establishing community courts, and continued to upgrade its prison system. Noting that thousands of young people, especially African youth, continued to fall victim to organized crime and that the Mediterranean Sea had become a graveyard for migrants seeking to achieve a better life in Europe, she said Eritrea had established legal, institutional and administrative frameworks to prevent its people from falling into the trap of criminal networks. Outlining a number of anti-money laundering programmes and efforts to tackle irregular migration and human trafficking, she said Eritrea was engaging with destination countries in Europe to examine their unjustified policies of granting automatic asylum to Eritrean nationals. Such measures unfortunately encouraged people to risk their lives and exposed them to human traffickers and smugglers.
ISRISS BOUASSILA (Algeria), expressing his country’s commitment to the three international drug control conventions, underscored the importance of the African Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention for the period 2013-2017 as a blueprint to address challenges posed by illicit drugs. There was an urgent need to address the challenges posed by the links among drug trafficking, corruption and such organized crime as human trafficking, firearms trafficking, cybercrime, terrorism and money laundering. Drug trafficking had exploited the climate of insecurity and political instability, enabling narco-trafficking to grow into one of the most important financing sources of terrorism. As a transit country, Algeria was deeply concerned by the weakness of policies adopted so far to limit drug supply. It had found that decriminalizing the use of drugs – particularly cannabis – for purposes other than those specified in international conventions was a retreat from the gains achieved in earlier decades.
MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) said that like any country bordering Afghanistan, his country was under the burden of combating drug trafficking. The international community needed to coordinate measures aimed at reducing drug supply and demand, and to integrate efforts taken in that area into the international strategy for narcotics control. A global multilevel system of cooperation with the United Nations as a coordinating centre should be established. In Tajikistan, Government measures had created the conditions to reduce the number of registered crimes related to drugs, he said, adding that international cooperation in drug control was another priority.
DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI (Nepal) affirmed his country’s commitment to the principles of fair, impartial and accountable criminal justice. The Government had enacted a number of laws to combat trans-border crimes. Nepal had longstanding national legislation on controlling drug abuse and was party to a number of international and regional conventions and programmes on drug trafficking. He called for global cooperation to address the challenges of drugs and crime, including their root causes.
YARON OPPENHEIMER (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, said that in the run up to a new Political Declaration in 2019 on the world drug problem, collective efforts were needed in the area of proportionate sentencing and alternatives to incarceration. It was also critical to implement a full range of health-based interventions. He expressed regret that the Special Session outcome had not included language on the death penalty, despite that a significant number of countries were taking steps to reduce the number of offences for which capital punishment might be imposed. “While we are concerned about the death penalty, we would also like to stress that extra-judicial killings are a flagrant violation of the right to life,” he said. An open debate towards 2019, including the voices of civil society, would help seize the momentum created by the Special Session.
YE MINN THEIN (Myanmar) said his country had implemented several programmes in partnership with UNODC, including on transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking, anti-corruption, rehabilitation and sustainable development. Myanmar had also increased its cooperation with neighbouring countries to fight human trafficking, he said, while on the domestic front it was working to eliminate forced labour. Also, the Government was working to eradicate opium by educating poppy farmers about reducing their production and finding alternative income. As poppy growing areas were in remote areas lacking basic infrastructure, it was crucial to support those farmers in developing sustainable incomes, he said.
LOURDES O. YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines), associating herself with ASEAN, said corruption was a breeding ground for the illegal drug trade, which threatened peace and impeded development gains. The Government had turned its focus to fighting drug use and providing rehabilitation to the country’s almost three million drug users. Thanks to those initiatives, some 700,000 people had submitted themselves to authorities. Turning to human trafficking, she said 10 per cent of the Philippine population – or nearly 10 million people – were among those who had gone overseas, responding to worldwide demand for migrant labour. The Government had established a mechanism to protect them, as well as enhanced regulation of recruitment agencies to protect migrants from abuse abroad. In 2015, the fight against human trafficking had resulted in 46 convictions, with many of the accused receiving the maximum punishment of life in prison. The increase in number of prosecutions – 217 between 2011 and 2016, compared with only 42 in the previous five-year period – had resulted from enhanced cooperation between law enforcement and prosecutors.
FERNANDO LUQUE MÁRQUEZ (Ecuador) said the fight against the world drug problem had not shown the desired success. There was a need to recognize common responsibilities. It would be appropriate for the international community to address the issue of tax havens and their relationship to the drug problem. Addiction was a public health problem, he said, stressing that the response should be designed accordingly and related socio-economic issues addressed.
FADUL MOHAMED (Sudan), associating himself with the African Group, reviewed the significant efforts his country had taken to combat organized crime, in line with its international and regional commitments. Sudan had established a national body to combat corruption, under the President’s oversight, set up a juvenile justice system, and established a child protection unit within the police and armed forces, as well as a unit to combat violence against women. Sudan had also made headway in preventing human trafficking. It had hosted conference in 2014 on combatting human smuggling and trafficking in the Horn of Africa, and he invited donor countries to support Sudan in implementing the outcome of that conference. Sudan had also worked with neighbours to strengthen border control and prevent infiltration of armed groups. Sudan had adopted a number of laws relating to money-laundering, terrorism financing and combatting drugs and psychotropic substances. He concluded by calling upon the international community to provide greater technical assistance and debt forgiveness to developing countries.
ABDOULAYE BARRO (Senegal), associating himself with the African Group, said the close links among the different forms of trafficking, transnational crime, drug problems and terrorism must be recognized. Success in combatting those problems had been mixed. Counterfeiting had become a major threat to economic development and impunity must be tackled through a transnational approach. Drugs were a grave threat to sustainable development and well-being. With that in mind, a network of prosecutors had been created as part of a comprehensive law enforcement response, as had treatment centres to support drug users.
IHOR YAREMENKO (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, said it was of utmost importance to ensure the effective follow-up to the General Assembly’s Special Session on the World Drug Problem by translating its “milestone” outcome document into practice. Emphasizing that implementing relevant international treaties required a comprehensive, complementary and balanced approach and full respect for human rights, he said that high priority should be accorded to such demand reduction measures as prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, aftercare and social reintegration. On human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants, he said that challenge had been exacerbated by massive internal migration flows fuelled by the conflict in Donbas.
SHARRINA ABDULLAH (Malaysia), associating herself with ASEAN, emphasized the need to address transnational crime in a more comprehensive manner, including through stricter enforcement, implementing the necessary legislation and enhancing the capacity of law enforcement agencies and inter-agency cooperation. Underscoring Malaysia’s commitment in that regard, she also pledged to work towards addressing the drug problem through a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach between demand and supply reduction, preventive education, and the introduction of voluntary treatment and rehabilitation. There was no one-size-fits-all model to address that issue, she said, underscoring the sovereign right of every Government and its citizens to decide what was best for them in that regard.
ROBERT ALEXANDER POVEDA BRITO (Venezuela) emphasized the need for shared responsibility in combatting the drug problem, even though it affected States differently. He called for greater international assistance to transit countries, in accordance with Article 10 of the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. In combatting drug trafficking, it was vital to harmonize interventions with the Sustainable Development Goals, a practice that would require a paradigm shift in the way the progress of national drug policies was measured. Under its 2015-2019 national drug plan, Venezuela had revamped its technological equipment for monitoring land and air activity. He was also pleased to announce that his country had captured 134 citizens wanted by INTERPOL between 2006 and 2015. Those achievements underscored Venezuela’s decades-long commitment to addressing the global drug problem through collaboration.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said that, as both a source and a transit country, combatting trafficking in persons – particularly women and children – was a top priority for his country. Bangladesh had zero tolerance for those engaged in such crimes, and had promulgated many laws and regulations to that end. Addressing drug trafficking required the involvement of all Governments and societies, he said, citing measures taken by Bangladesh, including rehabilitation facilities for addicts. Terrorists had no religion, caste or creed. The root causes of terrorism and violent extremism must be identified, he said, adding that strong action was required to deal with those who mentored, trained, financed and armed terrorists and extremists.Read more
A map showing the perceived threats to some of Brits’ favourite holiday destinations has been published the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Several counties are at a ‘high’ risk of a terrorist attacks following the horrifying scenes in Nice, in France, and an attempted military coup in Turkey.
The Home Office says Spain, France, Germany, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and the UK itself are all currently at ‘high risk’.Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland are among the safest counties to visit, according to the latest advice.
The most up-to-date travel advice comes after 84 people died in Nice, in the South of France, when a truck loaded with weapons was driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day.Meanwhile, a failed military coup in Turkey left more than 160 people dead and threw hundreds of Britons’ holiday plans into jeapordy.
Here are the latest terror risks for popular summer holiday destinations, according to the Home Office.
Risk level: High
The situation in Turkey appears to be calming following an attempted coup overnight on July 15 to 16. The security environment, however, remains potentially volatile. Following earlier disruption, flights to and from airports in Turkey are returning to normal, although some disruption remains and you should check with your airline or tour operator before travelling. You may need to turn up at the airport earlier than normal to get through the additional security checks in place.
If you are in Turkey, please follow the advice of the authorities, closely monitor travel advice and contact your airline or tour operator.
In Ankara and Istanbul we advise you to avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, and remain vigilant. Take sensible precautions if you are in the vicinity of any military or security forces. Roadblocks are in place in some areas.
The coastal resorts do not appear to be significantly affected at present. You should check with your airline or tour operator before travelling to the airport. Continue to exercise vigilance in resort areas.
British nationals requiring urgent consular assistance in Turkey can contact the Foreign Office on +44 207 008 0000.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provincesSiirt, Tunceli and HakkariSecurity force operations against the PKK and related groups are ongoing in the Sur district of Diyarbakir. The FCO advise against all travel to the city of Diyarbakir. Similar operations have taken place in Sirnak and Hakkari. You should take extreme care in these areas. See Safety and security
Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. It’s generally safe to travel but you should take additional safety precautions. You should be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with tourists.
TerrorismThe threat from terrorism remains high. Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. Further attacks are likely. Terrorist groups, including Daesh and the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), have publicly threatened to attack tourist sites in Turkey. You should take extra care in public places – particularly those visited by foreigners. Be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.
On 12 January 2016 there was a suicide bomb attack against tourists in Sultanahmet in Istanbul in which 10 people died. On 19 March 2016 a similar attack against tourists on Istiklal St in Istanbul killed 4 people.
On 17 February 2016 a large bomb attack near a military barracks on Eskisehir Road in Ankara killed 28 people. On 13 March 2016, a similar attack killed over 30 people at Kizilay Square in central Ankara.
On 27 April 2016 there was a suspected suicide bomb attack at Bursa Ulu Mosque. The bomber was killed and 7 people slightly injured.
On 1 May 2016 a bomb attack at the Central Police Station in Gaziantep killed two police officers and injured 23 others.
On 7 June 2016 a bomb attack in the Vezneciler area of Istanbul killed 7 police officers and 4 civilians. 36 people were injured.
On 28 June 2016 Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul was attacked. More than 40 people were killed.
Attacks are likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations. Nevertheless, it’s increasingly likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourists from western countries, particularly in the major cities, as was the case in Istanbul on 12 January and 19 March 2016. To date most attacks in Turkey have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul. There is a heightened risk of terrorist attack against the aviation industry in Turkey.
Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past. The Turkish authorities have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks. Nevertheless, further attacks are likely, could be indiscriminate and may target or affect places visited by foreigners.
Risk level: High
There is a high threat from terrorism.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deathsThe FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh;the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh (as shown on the map).The areas to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel do not include the tourist areas along the Nile river (eg Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) or the Red Sea Resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.
A flight from Borg el-Arab, Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked on 29 March 2016 and diverted to Larnaca, Cyprus. The alleged hijacker was arrested by the Cypriot authorities. The incident was resolved without loss and is not believed to be terrorist related.
On 8 January, a knife attack at the Bella Vista Hotel in Hurghada resulted in injuries to 3 foreign nationals. One of the attackers was killed and the other was injured and arrested.
Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
On 19 May 2016 EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo disappeared over the Mediterranean. The Egyptian authorities are co-ordinating the response to this incident. The causes of the aircraft’s disappearance are as yet unknown.
On 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. The investigation has not yet formally concluded, but on 17 November Russian authorities stated that the crash was caused by an explosive device onboard the flight. As a precautionary measure, we are advising against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.
We are not raising the threat level in the resort. The above advice applies only to air travel to and from Sharm el Sheikh.
Regular flights to and from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh were suspended on 4 November. Special security measures to allow travellers in Sharm el Sheikh to return to the UK by air safely ended on Tuesday 17 November. UK airlines are no longer operating flights from Sharm el Sheikh to the UK.
If you’re still in Sharm el Sheikh and now wish to leave you’ll need to make your own arrangements for returning to the UK.
This may involve having to travel with an airline to which extra security measures eg separate baggage flights, don’t apply. You should make your own decisions about the risk based on the information in our travel advice.
We will continue working with the Egyptian Authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh to resume. We are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place.
TerrorismTerrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks in Egypt. Further attacks are likely. Since 2013, attacks have mainly targeted the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these places. Attacks could be indiscriminate and may occur without prior warning. Foreigners have also been targeted. There have been threats to western nationals, institutions, and businesses posted on websites and social media.
There is a threat of kidnapping, particularly in remote desert areas. On 22 July 2015, a foreign national was kidnapped in the western desert. He was murdered in August 2015. A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for his murder.
The FCO is constantly reviewing the threat to British nationals from international terrorism and will reflect any credible threats in this travel advice.
Sharm el Sheikh and HurgadaEnhanced security measures are in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada resort areas. Security forces are situated at the international airports, at check points around the perimeter of the towns and throughout the Governorates. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in the towns.
Protests and demonstrationsProtests, marches and demonstrations can occur across Egypt, often on Fridays, but also at other times and with little prior notice. If you become aware of any nearby protests, marches or demonstrations you should leave the area immediately as the atmosphere can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.
British and foreign nationals have been arrested during demonstrations. You should keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Westerners, including British nationals, have been killed, raped and sexually assaulted in crowds – including at celebratory events as well as at demonstrations and protests.
Risk level: High
Over 12 million British nationals visit Spain every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
There have been several deaths as a result of falls from balconies. Don’t take any unnecessary risks, especially when under the influence of drink or drugs.
There is a high threat from terrorism.
You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired.
Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Be alert to the existence of street crime. Thieves tend to target money and passports so don’t keep them all in one place. Keep a copy of your passport somewhere safe.
Risk level: High
There is a high threat from terrorism. The German government has announced that increased security has been put in place as a precaution at public buildings, major events, transport hubs and large public gatherings.
There’s no requirement to carry your passport with you, but the police are currently carrying out more frequent ID checks. If you’re asked to show your passport and you don’t have it with you, the police may escort you to wherever your passport is being kept so that you can show it to them.
There’s been considerable disruption to rail, road and ferry transport between Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Germany. The German government has reinstated immigration controls at its borders with Austria. If you’re travelling by road, train or ferry, allow additional time for disruptions, be vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. Check with local media and your transport provider for more information.
Around 2,000,000 British nationals visit Germany every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.
British nationals have been arrested for possessing counterfeit currency. Avoid changing money anywhere other than banks or legitimate bureaux de change.
Risk level: Hig
There is a high threat from terrorism and the Belgians assess this to be a serious and real threat (level 3). Police operations are ongoing and there have been a number of police raids and arrests, including on 17 June, relating to past and potential terrorist attacks.
Security operations are likely to be carried out at short notice. You should remain vigilant, stay away from crowded places and follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities. Police have asked the public not to comment on police operations on social media. You can find more information on the Belgian Crisis Centre website and Twitter feed.
Public events and busy public areas across Belgium are likely to see additional security. Some public events may be cancelled and some tourist attractions closed. Contact event organisers for information on whether specific events are going ahead.
For more information about flights to and from Brussels airport, contact your airline or travel company, or visit the Brussels airport website or Twitter channel.
Up to 1.8 million British nationals visit Belgium every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out travel and medical insurance before you travel.
If you need to contact the emergency services, call 112.
If you’re travelling to commemorate the First World War centenary, plan your trip and make sure it’s safe and trouble free. Some sites will become extremely busy at certain times of the year, and some may have access restrictions.
When visiting former WW1 battlefields in north west Belgium, stay on the footpath and exercise caution if you see anything that looks like shells or munitions. Unexploded shells have recently been uncovered. Move away from the site and call the police emergency number 112 to report any incidents.
European summits and demonstrations often take place around the Schuman area. They can cause some disruption and access to the British Embassy and the British Consulate General can be affected.
Theft and pick pocketing is a problem in crowded areas. Take care of your belongings and passports at all train stations in Brussels.
Risk level: High
There was a terrorist attack on the Bastille Day celebration in Nice on 14 July 2016, causing multiple casualties. If you’re in the area, follow the instructions of the French authorities. The Promenade des Anglais is closed until Saturday afternoon.The government has declared a period of national mourning for 3 days, and has cancelled a number of public events around France planned for the coming days, closed a number of the public beaches in and around Nice, and implemented some traffic restrictions. If you’re concerned about any British national who may have been caught up in the attack, please call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on +44 (0)20 7008 0000.
There is a high threat from terrorism. Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.
The national state of emergency has been extended and will remain in place until 26 October.
The French government has launched a free smartphone app to alert users about possible security incidents, including all major natural, technological and terrorist-related risks. Users will be able to view alerts for up to eight geographical areas. The app, called SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), is available in English and French. You can download the app by entering the term ‘SAIP’ in the Apple App store or Google Play.
The EU Referendum held on 23 June delivered a clear vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU. The Prime Minister has made a statement. In his statement, the Prime Minister reassured British people living in the EU, and European citizens in the UK, that there would be no immediate changes to their circumstances, and that there would be no initial change to the way people can travel. Until it leaves, the UK remains a full member of the EU. The period for exit, under the EU Treaties, is two years unless the other Member States agree to extend it.
While there continue to be large numbers of illegal migrants in and around Calais, who may seek to enter the UK illegally, the security situation has improved significantly since the summer of 2015. Although the risk of incidents has decreased, you should keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic in and around Calais, and secure your vehicle when it’s left unattended.
There’s occasional disruption to cross channel services due to strike action and migrant activity in and around Calais. Check the website of your chosen operator before you set off.
Around 17 million British nationals visit France every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The most common problem reported is pick-pocketing.
The Emergency phone number in France is 112.
Risk level: High
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
the Chaambi Mountain National Park areathe Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssefthe militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehibawithin 5km of the Libya border area from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossingThe FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Tunisia.
A state of emergency is in effect in Tunisia, imposed after a suicide attack on a police bus on 24 November 2015. It has been extended a number of times. On 20 June it was extended for a further month to 21 July.
The threat from terrorism in Tunisia is high. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations. You should be vigilant, avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company, if you have one.
Since the terrorist attack in Sousse in June 2015, we have been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups in Tunisia. Although we have had good co-operation from the Tunisian government, including putting in place additional security measures, the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely. On balance, we do not believe the mitigation measures in place provide adequate protection for British tourists in Tunisia at the present time.
On 8 July 2015, the Tunisian Prime Minister stated publicly that further attacks were likely. The Tunisian authorities have increased their security measures but have also acknowledged the limitations in their ability to counter the current terrorist threat.
On 11 May 2016, a number of suspected terrorists were killed or arrested during armed clashes with security forces in the Mnhila district of greater Tunis and 4 National Guards were also killed by a suicide bomb during a security operation in Tataouine in southern Tunisia.
In early March 2016, security forces repelled attacks by terrorists in Ben Guerdane, close to the Libyan border. Over 60 fatalities resulted, the majority of which were terrorists. Members of the security forces and civilians were also killed.
There are no direct flights between the UK and Monastir or Enfidah airports. There are daily Tunis Air flights from Tunis Carthage airport direct to London, and indirect daily departures with European carriers. Contact your airline or travel company directly if you have an enquiry about your travel plans.
If you need consular assistance (above and beyond travel information) you should contact the British Embassy in Tunis.
If you choose to travel to or remain in Tunisia then you should check that your insurance policy provides adequate cover.
Risk level: General
On 12 June 2016 a firearms attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida killed 50 people and injured over 50 others. If you’re in the area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities.
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions.
You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
Around 3.8 million British nationals visit the United States every year. Most visits are trouble free, but you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
There is a general threat from terrorism.
The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa, but you may need to get authorisation from the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) before you travel. If you don’t qualify for the VWP, you’ll need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. To enter the US under the VWP you’ll need to have a passport with an integrated chip (an ePassport).
People who have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011, or are dual nationals of these countries, no longer qualify for entry under the VWP and existing ESTAs could have been cancelled. Contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for advice on whether you need to apply for a visa to enter the USA.
Cases of locally transmitted Zika virus have been confirmed in the last 3 months in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, particularly if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
All travellers arriving from Ebola affected areas in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) must arrive at one of 5 major airports in order to undergo health screening.
You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime.
Risk level: General
Demonstrations may occur with little or no warning in cities. You should avoid any protests, political gatherings, or marches.
Approximately 3 million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
If you are visiting a ski resort you should take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel and familiarise yourself with local skiing laws and regulations.
There is a general threat from terrorism.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Risk level: General
There are regular strikes, sometimes called at short notice, that can cause disruption to public transport (including air travel and ports).
Demonstrations take place regularly in central Athens, and have also taken place in other towns and cities. There may also be demonstrations in reaction to developments in Greece’s negotiations with its international creditors. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities.
The currency of Greece is the euro. When travelling outside the UK you should take more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card).
Greece imposed capital controls on 28 June 2015 and there are still restrictions on some banking services in Greece. The Greek government continues to limit withdrawals using cards issued by Greek banks to €60 per day. However, these daily amounts can now be withdrawn cumulatively on a weekly basis.
You can withdraw cash using your UK card up to the daily limit imposed by the Greek banking system (usually €600), or the daily limit imposed by your card issuer – whichever is the lower amount. The system for paying with debit and credit cards for retail transactions continues to function.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to exchange sterling for euros in Greece. There are no restrictions on taking unspent euros out of Greece at the end of your stay.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greek islands, including Lesvos, Kos and Samos, and seeking to continue their journey via Greece to other EU countries. The British Embassy is keeping the situation under review, but at present there are no reports of any specific risks to British nationals visiting these islands or at border crossing points. You can find general information and advice about safety and security in Greece in this travel advice.
The Greek authorities have enhanced border security. Anyone attempting to facilitate or transport an illegal migrant or anyone inciting disorder or violence will be arrested and dealt with by the authorities.
There is a general threat from terrorism and acts of political violence.
The emergency services number in Greece is 112. Calling 999 from a UK mobile in Greece will automatically transfer you to the Greek emergency services.
British nationals make around 2.7 million visits Greece to every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.
Carry a copy of your passport or other photographic ID which confirms British nationality at all times.
The Greek police won’t accept rowdy or indecent behaviour, especially where excessive drinking is involved. Greek courts impose heavy fines or prison sentences on people who behave indecently. Your travel insurance may not cover you after drinking.
Risk level: Underlying
Carry your passport with you at all times. You must be able to show some form of identification if required, including when checking into hotels.
Land mines are still a danger in some isolated areas.
Around 500,000 British nationals visited Croatia in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired.
Risk level: Underlying
Around 2.6 million British nationals visited Portugal in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.Read more
Beware of street crime. Thieves tend to target money and passports so don’t keep them all in one place. See Crime
Walking the levadas (ancient irrigation channels) is a popular activity in Madeira, but the walks can be challenging if you are inexperienced.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance and get a free European Health Insurance Card before you travel.