22 November 200715:57

Transcript of Opening Ceremony Remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at an International Conference on the State-Business Partnership against Terrorism, Moscow, November 21, 2007

1855-22-11-2007

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Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like first of all to welcome all conference participants and wish you fruitful deliberations. Our meeting in this composition is a striking testimony that the international initiative put forward by Russia last year as part of its presidency of the Group of Eight and backed up by the other G8 countries for strengthening the public-private antiterrorist partnership is developing, picking up speed and winning new supporters.

A year ago also here in Moscow a highly important event took place in the framework of this antiterrorist initiative, the first global forum for anti-terrorism partnership between government and business. More than 500 representatives from nearly 40 countries adopted a key document – the Strategy for Antiterrorist Partnership, which had been worked out by the G8 and evoked wide international response. A political and organizational groundwork was thus laid for building up effective antiterrorist cooperation between state and nonstate, primarily business, entities.

We firmly believe that government and business are natural and consistent allies in repulsing terrorist threats. Their close cooperation in tacking the tasks in this area is an indispensable component of antiterrorist efforts, which are being made both on the national level and in the international format. That cooperation should rest on the principles of voluntary association, mutual interest and a clear understanding of the specific functions of public and private entities and their comparative advantages.

In holding the Global Forum, we were aware that the initiative's effectiveness would derive from how far we succeed in fleshing out its political and organizational framework with practical projects for public-private antiterrorist partnership capable of giving a real "added value" to efforts in the domain of anti-terror. It is now becoming clear that our expectations are being justified. A number of joint projects are being realized, and some of them are already in an advanced stage.

In organizing this Conference, we at the Russian Foreign Ministry hoped that it would help sum up the interim work done to implement the most significant projects and initiatives as a whole and discuss prospects for the future. I would not like to dwell on individual projects: they will be presented at the plenary meeting and in the sections. I shall note as a positive example the efforts initiated by Russian company Norilsk Nickel to put an end to the smuggling of precious materials in the interest of combating the financing of terrorism and organized crime. Envisaged by the Partnership Strategy, the working group on this project has prepared a package of appropriate international measures.

Neither can I fail to mention the active stance of the Moscow Mayor's Office, in cooperation with which the Foreign Ministry is holding this Conference. The essence of the proposals of the capital's authorities is to bolster antiterrorist interaction between major world capitals substantially.

The dynamic and wide-scope initiatives being worked out by the German ‘Union against Extraordinary Threats' also merit special attention. They will be examined within a separate section.

It is extremely important, we believe, that thanks to the increasingly broad awareness of the necessity of combining all efforts in the struggle against terrorism the antiterrorist partnership initiative is extending beyond the G8 format. Thus, in May-June this year the representative Political OSCE Conference on Partnership of State Authorities, Civil Society and the Business Community in Combating Terrorism was held in Vienna on the proposal of Russia and the United States of America. We hope that the theme of antiterrorist partnership will find its embodiment in further OSCE activities, in particular, in the decisions of the upcoming meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Madrid in a week's time.

We note with satisfaction the increasing interest of other European and global organizations in the Russian initiative. In attendance at this our Conference, along with the OSCE antiterrorist coordinator, are his colleague from the European Union, the chairman of the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on Terrorism, and officials from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

I am certain that the Conference will really contribute to further strengthening the state-business partnership, internationally and nationally, in countering terrorism. For our part, we will also do all we can to achieve this.

Thank you for your attention.

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