Qatar & US hold workshop as part of deal to fight terrorism

 05 Oct 2017 - 1:37

Qatar & US hold workshop as part of deal to fight terrorism
Deputy Governor of Qatar Central Bank, H E Sheikh Fahad bin Faisal Al Thani (centre), with Abdulaziz Al Ansari (left), Chairman of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee; and William Grant, Charge d’Affaires, ad Interim at US Embassy Doha, at the workshop in Doha yesterday. Pic: Salim Matramkot / The Peninsula

By Mohammad Shoeb / The Peninsula

The Chairman of Qatar’s National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee (NAMLC) and the Deputy Governor of Qatar Central Bank, H E Sheikh Fahad bin Faisal Al Thani, yesterday opened a Technical Exchange workshop on ‘Domestic Designations’ between Qatar and the US.

The two-day workshop is the follow-up of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on combating terrorism financing signed in July between Qatar and the US, which was announced by Qatar’s Foreign Minister, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman AI Thani.

Qatar was the first country to sign an executive programme, the first of its kind, with Washington to fight terrorism.

The workshop was attended by legal experts, law enforcement officials and technicians at all levels who are expected to contribute significantly to the achievement objectives set for it.

“Today, we are opening one of these activities, which even started before the signing of the MoU that will strengthen these activities,” said Sheikh Fahad.

“We seek mainly to develop and activate a Domestic Designation system based on a sound legislative and regulatory framework and aims to undermine all forms of terrorism,” he added.

Sheikh Fahad said that the workshop aimed at providing technical assistance and exchanging experiences between Qatar and US agencies on the subject of the Domestic Designation system. Participants will discuss international best practices in this regard.

The programme came within the framework of the continued bilateral cooperation and as a result of a joint action between both countries to combat terrorism financing mechanisms and to exchange experiences.

Also in attendance at the opening session of the workshop were Major-General Abdulaziz Al Ansari, Chairman of National Counter-Terrorism Committee; William Grant, Charge d’Affaires, ad interim, at the US Embassy in Qatar; and members of the National Counterterrorism Committee and the National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Committee.

The memorandum states that the two countries will intensify activities to combat terrorism globally and that the two countries bear the responsibility and obligations to exchange information to contribute to stop the financing of terrorism.

“In this particular place last week, a workshop was held with the participation of experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) of the United States of America on financial investigations, and will continue these activities and events in the belief of the importance of exchanging experiences between the parties,” he added.

The Chairman of the NAMLC noted that Qatar has established a national institutional and operational system aimed at this for years. He reiterated that Qatar has been and continues to consider terrorism as a threat to peoples, nations, and economic and social achievements, which requires intensifying efforts in combating it.

William, in his speech, said: “This week’s technical expert exchange is another important step forward, and we will continue to support Qatar’s efforts to improve and enhance its counterterrorism efforts.”

He also welcomed colleagues from the US Treasury Department, the Justice Department, and the State Department, all of whom will be establishing important relationships with Qatari ministries and offices.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of their experience and expertise today,” he added.  “There is more progress on the horizon. Next month Washington will be the site of the first US-Qatar Counterterrorism Dialogue. This dialogue aims to continue shaping our shared priorities and cooperative projects for the future. And to General AI Ansari, I want to share the message with you that Ambassador Sales, our new Counterterrorism Coordinator, looks forward to welcoming you and your team to the State Department for this Dialogue.”

William also noted that combating the global financing of terrorism is a long-term effort that takes cooperation, expertise, persistence, and effective government institutions.