Tripoli, 12 January, 2013:
The Libyan, Algerian and Tunisian prime ministers have agreed on a major upgrade of cross-border security, cracking down on the smuggling of people, drugs and arms and on terrorism.
Meeting in Ghadames today, Saturday,, the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, Algerian Premier Abdulmalik Sellal and Tunisian Premier Hamadi Jebali decided on a series of measures including joint checkpoints, coordinated border patrols, increased exchange of information about movements in the border zones and regular meetings of security staff.
The three further agreed to invest in the border areas to develop and create jobs so that local people would not be drawn into smuggling. There could be no security and stability without economic and social development in the region, the Algerian Prime Minister said.
They also endorsed an expansion of people-to-people contacts, particularly in sports and culture, in order to encourage good relations and help fight local clandestine activities.
A tripartite committee is to be set up to implement the decisions. It will also come up with recommendations for the three governments at their next meeting.
Regarding the situation in Mali and its effects on the security of the wider region, the three leaders expressed “deep concern” about attacks by rebels there and stated their “full support for the government and people of Mali. They said that there had to be a political solution that respected its territorial integrity, with debate between the groups in the conflict there.
The summit was judged a success by Zeidan who said that it had taken the necessary decisions to confront the threats facing the three countries. The three countries were determined to deal with those who smuggled drugs or arms to terrorists or dealt in human trafficking.
Terrorism affects the whole region, Algeria’s Sellal pointed out, and all efforts had to be made to deal with it.
For his part, the Tunisian prime minister pointed out that the meeting in Ghadames provided evidence a new regional convergence of views.
The three premiers plan to meet regularly.