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WCO is committed to working with its partners to enable Customs to contribute to counter-terrorism in Central Asia

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WCO is committed to working with its partners to enable Customs to contribute to counter-terrorism in Central Asia

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), participated through a video message in the High-Level International Conference on “Regional cooperation of Central Asian countries within the framework of the Joint Action Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” held in a hybrid format on 3 and 4 March 2022 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

A press release posted on the organization’s website states that the event gathered over 600 senior officials and leading experts from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as representatives of international and regional organizations, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations.

The WCO Secretary General emphasizes the importance of the address of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the conference participants, for the international community to consolidate its efforts to address the increasing global and regional security threats in such difficult circumstances. He welcomes the call of the leadership of the country on the need to strengthen mechanisms for constant monitoring and critical evaluation of the Joint Plan of Action’s implementation and coordination of cooperation among the Central Asian countries.

In his video message, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya said that Customs is the first line of defence to prevent organized crime and terrorist groups from exploiting illicit trade and highlighted in this regard the important role played by the WCO in setting international standards to secure and facilitate supply chain and ensure connectivity at borders.

Secretary General Mikuriya stated that, in order to assist Customs administrations in Central Asia and surrounding countries in fulfilling their responsibilities, the WCO had supported the participation of Customs in broader UN initiatives to build capacity to prevent and combat terrorism at the borders. In this regard, he mentioned the recent WCO Operation Cosmo Central Asia for addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other dual-use goods and demonstrating the effective implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution (UN SCR) 1540.

Dr. Mikuriya went on to say that the WCO had also been actively involved in the recent United Nations UN SCR 2370 “Deep Dive” assessments, examining a State’s ability to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons in Central Asian countries, with a focus on the effectiveness of border control of firearms, ammunition and explosives. In this connection, he stressed the need to include Customs in Committees and other mechanisms designed to combat terrorism.

The Secretary General said that the WCO is committed to working with its partners to enable Customs to contribute to counter-terrorism in Central Asia.

UzA