On December 6 and 7, 2004, the delegations of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and the United States of America met in the city of Washington D.C. in the framework of the 3 + 1 Group on Tri-Border Area Security to discuss and analyze preventive actions against terrorism and other transnational crimes. The discussions focused on joint activities taken over the previous year by the parties, such as training, international counterterrorism obligations, and best practices for improving law enforcement cooperation, including combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The United States has strongly supported the 3 + 1 Group and its efforts in preventing terrorism and transnational crime. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega thanked the nations of the Hemisphere for their unwavering cooperation in these efforts, and enhancing security in the Americas. Noriega said he was very pleased by the actions of the 3 + 1 Group, complimenting the delegations that "moved immediately after your establishment into deeds, from an impressive array of cooperative training to sharing of intelligence and information."
As the head of the U.S. delegation, U.S. Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism William Pope noted that the struggle against terrorism can only succeed by the joint efforts of all civilized nations. He said that while we have weakened terrorist organizations, they remain dangerous and unpredictable. The Americas have been largely free of terrorism, but our liberties and close ties between people, institutions, and businesses, can make us an attractive target for attack by desperate groups, he said. He concluded by urging all nations to remain vigilant while constantly improving our capabilities to defeat and deter terrorism.
The U.S. Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend described the United States' strategy in the Global War on Terrorism. She noted that in order to deter terrorism in our Hemisphere, our countries must work together along various fronts. She congratulated the delegations for the work of the 3 + 1 Group since its inception and urged them to continue to deepen their cooperation.
The delegations, aware of the fact that the fight against terrorism and transnational crime can be effective only if applied from a perspective of broad cooperation among State agencies, gave presentations on the high priority their governments place on the fight against these scourges.
They have agreed that, worldwide, the financing of terrorism is a fundamental pillar of terrorist activities. Thus, the only way to confront it is through the exchange of information and experience, the design and application of specific controls, as well as ongoing training of the authorities involved.
Once the points on the agenda were analyzed, the delegations concluded the following:
1) They ratified that, according to currently available information, no operational activities of terrorism have been detected at the tri-border area.
2) They reiterated their commitment to continue meetings with the four countries under this informal mechanism, as the results achieved in this sphere are considered highly positive and auspicious.
3) Paraguay recalled the tri-lateral draft operational agreement to joint patrols regarding Itaipu Lake and adjacent waters. Brazil announced that Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay will meet in Foz do Igua�u the first half of 2005 for the purpose of analyzing, approving and implementing this plan. Brazil announced the establishment of a new Maritime Security Center in Foz do Igua�u (NEPOM).
4) The Argentine delegation gave information about the computerized system for integrated immigration controls. The delegations of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay expressed their interest in giving priority consideration to the implementation of integrated border and customs controls in the tri-border region and agreed to have a meeting during the first half of 2005 to analyze the issues.
5) The delegation of the United States presented an account of the training courses on combating money laundering and terrorist financing that the United States has provided to officials of the Argentine, Brazilian and Paraguayan Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), as well as to officials working in the legal, financial regulatory, law enforcement and prosecutorial sectors.
6) The delegation of the United States provided an account of the other delegations' senior officials' visits to its borders with Mexico and Canada as well as to the Miami port of entry in 2004 to observe border control cooperation.
7) The delegations reiterated the importance of intensifying the struggle against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. More specifically, the delegations emphasized the need to implement the 40 + 8 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, as well as the new FATF special recommendation on cash couriers (especially reporting suspicious transactions to the FIUs). The Argentine delegation reiterated, on this particular matter, the need for implementation of a matrix for the exchange of information among all the institutions linked to this activity in order to unify criteria and maximize the effectiveness of said exchange. They agreed to work together in this forum taking into account other multilateral and regional initiatives.
8) The delegation of the United States reported on the Conference of the 3 + 1 Group's FIUs that was held in May 2004 in Buenos Aires to strengthen communication, interaction, training and the development of information technology. Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay proposed that future FIU meetings, conducted in the context of the 3 + 1 dialogue, include a broader participation of other relevant agencies. Paraguay offered to host the next FIU meeting during 2005, with a focus on controls on cross-border transportation of monies and securities, as well as on non-profit organizations.
9) In order to have more in depth inter-agency cooperation, the delegations emphasized the need to strengthen closer institutional ties among prosecutors working in the tri-border area. In this regard the Brazilian delegation offered to host such a meeting in 2005.
10) Brazil announced the creation a Regional Intelligence Center inside the newly established federal police headquarters in Foz do Igua�u. Paraguay and Argentina made a commitment to designate focal points and liaison officers to this new center, which will facilitate an exchange of information on illicit activities in the region and will contribute to the work of the tri-lateral Joint Command (Comando Tripartito de la Triple Frontera).
11) The Brazilian delegation proposed a greater and more coordinated exchange of information on cargo flights. It also discussed the importance of the exchange of information in regards to detecting and monitoring potentially illegal or irregular flights in the tri-border area. The Argentine delegation expressed the need to adopt guidelines for these purposes.
12) The Group renewed its commitment to the ratification and implementation of the international instruments on the matter of international terrorism, as well as to taking steps to bring its legislation pertaining to counterterrorism into compliance with international standards and commitments. The Paraguayan delegation announced that it has ratified all 12 UN terrorism conventions and taken steps to bring them into effect by February 2005.
13) The participating delegations congratulated the Government of the United States for the excellent organization of the meeting and expressed their gratitude for the hospitality government authorities had given. The delegation of Brazil offered to host the next plenary of the 3 + 1 Group in one year. The other delegations accepted with pleasure this gracious offer.