Arab interior ministers agree on Saudi plan to combat drug trafficking

They will discuss the establishment of a task force that will also counter terrorism

Tunisian President Kais Saied welcomes Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, to the Arab Interior Ministers Council in Tunis. Photo: Wam
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Interior ministers from across the Middle East and North Africa met in Tunis on Wednesday and agreed on a Saudi proposal on co-operation between Arab states to counter security threats including drug trafficking and terrorism.

The ministers met in Tunis to discuss recent challenges to regional security as part of the 40th session of the Arab Interior Ministers Council.

High-level officials participating in the meeting include Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, along with representatives from the Gulf Co-operation Council and other regional and international security bodies.

“The Arab co-operation model that we hope for requires support for efforts of integration, co-ordination and exchange of experiences and expertise to develop reliable means and mechanisms,” Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud told the council.

The ministers will, as a top priority, discuss the establishment of a task force to confront drug trafficking in the region, Mohamed Ben Ali Kouman, Secretary General of the Arab Of Interior Ministers Council, said.

Meanwhile, Tunisian Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine called on the council to support his country during what he called “the unprecedented and unjustified attack against Tunisia for taking a sovereign stance against the flow of illegal migrants into the country”.

Tunisia has faced criticism following a statement by Tunisian President Kais Saied, in which he described the flow of migrants to the country as a threat and part of “a plan to alter the demographic structure of the country”.

The statement led to international backlash, particularly from the African Union, which called Mr Saied’s words “racialised hate speech”.

Mr Charfeddine recalled, however, that Tunisia has been calling for the adoption of a comprehensive approach to ensure regular migration within a framework that respects human rights, development, security and justice.

Security solutions 'not enough'

Mr Aboul Gheit reminded the council of the global challenges facing Arab states due to the continuing clash between superpowers over the war in Ukraine.

He told the assembled officials that “security solutions are not enough” and that a more comprehensive plan that takes into consideration underlying socio-economic issues, is also needed to achieve “radical change”.

The council is also expected to discuss the activation of a co-operation plan to counter cyber crimes and enact an inclusive Arab cybersecurity strategy.

Updated: March 02, 2023, 5:30 AM