November 5th, 2007 08:14 EST
INTERPOL General Assembly opens in Marrakesh, Morocco
MARRAKESH – INTERPOL’s 76th General Assembly opened on Monday with calls for member countries to make greater use of the organization’s potential and ability to identify, locate and arrest international criminals.
Nearly 600 delegates from 144 member countries are gathering in Marrakesh for the four-day conference, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the accession of Morocco as an INTERPOL member country.
A key issue for delegates will be the publication of direct appeals for citizens’ assistance in the search for wanted persons. The discussion follows INTERPOL’s decision to publish the picture of a previously unknown suspected child sex abuser on its website to request assistance in his identification.
In response to tip-offs from members of the public on three continents, co-ordination between INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in Canada, South Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia led to the arrest of Canadian Christopher Paul NEIL in Thailand just 10 days after the appeal was made.
INTERPOL President Jackie Selebi said the organization had reached new standards in the global police co-operation against international crime and called on delegates to fully utilise INTERPOL’s resources to continue these successes.
'We, as the world’s largest police organization, must constantly assess our role and responsibilities in helping safeguard members of the public, and especially our children,' said President Selebi.
'The tools INTERPOL has put in place have an almost unlimited potential to further strengthen global policing, making sure that we as police have the information we need to do our job to help prevent criminals and terrorists from entering our countries or attempting to flee after committing a crime or attack.'
In his opening address, Morocco’s Minister of the Interior Chakib Benmoussa underlined the need for global co-operation in ensuring the safety of citizens.
'Morocco considers international co-operation in the fight against crime to be a strategic choice to help maintain peace and security and to protect persons and property,' Minister Benmoussa said.
Mme Michèle Alliot-Marie, Minister of the Interior of France, reinforced the need for a strong and dynamic INTERPOL.
'My country remains convinced that INTERPOL must fulfil a specific, central and pivotal role in securing the international community.'
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