Asuncion, ParaguayDecember 3, 2003
On December 3, 2003, the delegations of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and the United States of America met in the city of Asuncion in the framework of the 3 + 1 Group on Tri-Border Area Security to discuss and analyze preventive actions against terrorism. The discussions also included training, the strengthening of financial institutions, money-laundering legislation, the financing of terrorism, drug and arms trafficking, border controls, as well as cooperation on the exchange of information and law enforcement on this matter.
Ambassador Leila Rachid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay, manifested in the opening ceremony that the struggle against terrorism is the first great test the 21st century imposes. In virtue of this it is up to the countries of the region to demonstrate the will to master this challenge through concrete actions.
She additionally exhorted the Group to send the world the message that our governments are determined, principally, to prevent terrorist acts.
She concluded by saying that Argentina, as well as Brazil and Paraguay share the deep hope to remake the tri-border area into a pole of regional development.
The delegations, aware of the fact that the fight against terrorism can only be effective if applied from a perspective of broad cooperation among State agencies, gave presentations on the high priority their governments place on the fight against this scourge.
Likewise, they agreed that 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 on going training of the authorities involved.
Once the points on the agenda were analyzed, the delegations concluded the following:
- They ratified that, according to currently available information, no operational activities of terrorism have been detected at the tri-border area.
- 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.
- With regard to the joint patrols of Itaipu Lake and adjacent waters, the Paraguayan delegation presented a tri-lateral draft operational agreement on the matter. The suggestion was to establish a schedule with a view to the approval of said agreement by the first quarter of 2004 and its implementation during the second semester.
- The delegations manifested their interest in prioritizing the effective implementation of integrated border controls in the region. The Argentinean delegation thus proposed that the computerized system for integrated immigration controls agreed to with Paraguay be implemented in the tri-border area.
- The Brazilian delegation stressed giving priority to controls on the cross-border transportation of money and securities. Along these lines, they proposed devising a study of experiences in this matter and designing specific controls. The Argentinean delegation proposed a meeting of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) in the course of the second semester of 2004. Among other things, they and representatives from customs and immigrations should take charge of drafting controls for the cross-border transportation of money and securities.
- The delegation of the United States offered to support training by holding courses and seminars on money laundering based on trade as well as tax evasion methods for financing terrorism.
- The delegation of the United States offered to sponsor the program of visits to its borders with Canada and Mexico for high level authorities responsible for border controls. Said program will be carried out in the framework of the Inter-American Counterterrorism Committee - CICTE.
- The delegations reiterated the importance of intensifying the struggle against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Along these lines, they highlighted the role carried out by the countries' financial intelligence units. The Argentinean delegation proposed, on this particular matter, the 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.
- The delegation of the United States proposed holding a Conference of the 3 + 1 Group's Financial Intelligence Units with a view to strengthening communication, interaction, training and the development of information technology. At that meeting the members of the 3+1 Group would consider the advisability of inviting other countries to participate in future meetings.
- In order to have more in depth inter-agency cooperation, the Argentinean delegation emphasized the need to initiate closer institutional ties among prosecutors working in the tri-border area. The specific suggestion was to hold a meeting in the course of next year for this purpose.
- Brazil reiterated its offer to the other countries to make use of the Intelligence Center headquartered in the city of Foz de Yguazu for the purpose of establishing a regional center. In this context, the countries made a commitment to designate focal points as well as select and train police agents in the first semester of 2004, with a view to the full implementation of the center in the second semester of the same year.
- With regard to port and airport security, the Group reiterated its commitment to carry out the recommendations of international organizations. The Brazilian delegation proposed increasing the exchange of information through the drafting of reports on cargo flights to airports in the tri-border area detected by the Brazilian air traffic control system. A request was made for expanded international cooperation to improve the efficiency of port and airport security systems.
- The Group expressed its commitment to the ratification and implementation of the international instruments on the matter of international terrorism, as well as the enactment of national counterterrorism laws.
- The Paraguayan delegation reported on progress made in the matter of the identification and penalization of those implicated in alleged financial crimes operating from the tri-border area. These efforts were well received by the delegations.
- The delegation of the United States offered to extend to Argentinean and Brazil the consulting assistance of the Legal Affairs Advisor residing in Paraguay.
- The delegation of the United States presented its Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program and the four countries agreed in pointing out that this significantly contributes to achieving the objective of preventing terrorism.
The participating delegations congratulated the Government of the Republic of Paraguay for the excellent organization of the meeting and expressed their gratitude for the hospitality government authorities had given.