Cyprus and Australia to further enhance cooperation on combating terrorism

Cyprus and Australia aim to further enhance and expand their cooperation on combating terrorism, organized crime, illegal immigration and illegal drug trade.

The two countries Justice Ministers, Ionas Nicolaou and Michael Keenan, held talks here on Tuesday during which they agreed that the two countries will forge a bilateral cooperation agreement on these issues.

In statements after the meeting, Nicolaou said that they also talked about tackling corruption, an area in which Australia has developed good practices. He underlined that the cooperation of the Republic of Cyprus with the Government of Australia is being expanded and improved within a legal framework which will legitimize the two states to develop this cooperation.

On his part, the Australian Justice Minister underlined that democracies, friendly countries need to work together to counter the threat of terrorism, adding at the same time that they discussed ways to enhance cooperation against organized crime and other crimes.

In his statements, Nicolaou said that they discussed issues of mutual interest as terrorism, and more specifically about foreign fighters who go to Syria and the potential of exchanging information on these issues and locating Australian citizens who probably travel to Syria via Cyprus. Furthermore, he noted that they acknowledged the fact that due to the developments in Syria foreign citizens who went there may now return to their countries.

He said that during the meeting each Minister elaborated on the measures which his country takes against terrorism and they talked about the potential of enhancing the ways in which this problem is addressed as well as the two countries cooperation to tackle it. Nicolaou said that to this end they agreed that the two countries will forge a bilateral cooperation agreement that will also concern organized crime, illegal immigration and illegal drug trade.

He noted that they discussed issues related to police and justice cooperation between the two countries, adding that they came to the conclusion that the two countries need to expand this cooperation especially on police issues.

The Cypriot minister said that they discussed about combating corruption, an area in which Australia has developed good practices and has set up a legislation on gathering information and protecting whistle-blowers.

He noted that we informed the Australian side about the national strategy which we recently announced and we asked for their cooperation on implementing good practices and legal measures.

On his part, Keenan said that they had a broad ranging conversation. We are facing a difficult global security environment at the moment as a result of events particularly in Syria. And it has had a very significant impact on security in the whole civilized world including Australia and Cyprus, he added.

Keenan stressed that democracies, friendly countries need to work together to counter that threat. And we are doing that by continuing to extend our very good relationship, continuing to find new ways we can cooperate and continuing to find new ways that we can share information. And the discussions that weve had this morning will allow both of our countries to do that.

The Austrial minister said it was very useful to discuss ways that we can enhance cooperation against organized crime and other crimes and how we can build on our already strong relationships”, and that he was very very pleased to share with his Cypriot counterpart Australias approaches to these national security criminal and law issues as well as Australias approach to tackling corruption and protecting whistleblowers.

Source: Cyprus News Agency