Vienna, 3 December 2009 – “In recent years Vienna has established itself as a hub for international expertise and forward-looking cooperation in the field of security. This conference will further strengthen Vienna’s role in the international dialogue on peace and development,” stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, commenting on today’s West Africa donor conference at Vienna’s Austria Centre.
At the conference decisions will be taken on support for concrete programmes for the fight against organised crime and drug crime in West Africa: “Corruption and organised crime, in particular drug trafficking, arms trading, and human trafficking, undermine democracy and economic and social development in West Africa. As a result, these abuses directly jeopardize security in the region – with negative effects for the whole world. Our goal must therefore be to strengthen local governments in the development of stable, functioning security and administrative structures. This is also very much in our own interests,” the Foreign Minister continued.
Austria is participating in the implementation of the ECOWAS regional response action plan in Mali, which aims at building capacities in fields such as the judiciary, customs and police in order to be able to pro-actively fight drug trafficking and organised crime. Support is also being provided for the elaboration and/or review of the legal framework and for strengthening activities in fields such as prevention and drug abuse. At the conference it is also envisaged to pledge support for a cross-border programme for coastal states, with a focus on Sierra Leone. Furthermore, the Austrian Development Cooperation programme promotes the work of regional organisations such as ECOWAS as regards the exchange of experience and their efforts for peacekeeping and conflict prevention.
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