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Press Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
June 16, 2000

Central Asia: Counterterrorism Conference

The Department of State hosted a regional Central Asian Counterterrorism Conference June 13-15 in Washington. The conference was an outgrowth of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's recent trip to Central Asia and her discussions with Central Asian leaders on the need for strengthened counterterrorism cooperation and efforts to combat other transborder threats.

Ambassador Michael Sheehan, U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism, led the U.S. delegation. Participants included representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Egypt, Spain, and the United States. The United Kingdom, Turkey, China, and the OSCE also sent observers to the conference. Among other issues, participants discussed the nature of the global and regional terrorist threat; diplomatic efforts underway in the United Nations and G-8 to counter that threat; and the critical need for counterterrorism political strategies to be based on the rule of law and respect for human rights if they are to succeed as long-term efforts to curtail support for terrorism. The delegations also attended a briefing at the Central Intelligence Agency and visited the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which included a meeting with FBI Director Freeh.

Participants noted the linkages among drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism. They agreed on the importance of increasing multilateral, regional, and bilateral cooperation to counter terrorism and fostering political will in the international community to deny sanctuary and financial support to terrorists. Citing the central role that Afghanistan plays in supporting terrorist groups in the region, the participants also discussed the possibility of applying further international sanctions against the Taliban.

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