OPENING SPEECH BY THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR

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PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT December 3, 2001

MONEY LAUNDERING AND FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE COURSE Forum Secretariat December 3-7, 2001

H.E. MR. JEAN-PIERRE VIDON

Staff of the Forum Secretariat

Presenters of this Workshop

Representatives of Forum Member Countries

I am very honored to be here this morning for the opening of this regional seminar on "Money Laundering and Financial Intelligence," as it gives me a unique opportunity of addressing a wide and select audience of financial, police and law enforcement officers from some 10 countries of the Pacific region.

The recent events in the United States have proven the need for stronger measures against financial criminal activities, as part of the international effort to combat the financing of terrorism.

However, we certainly must ensure that these measures are implemented with a high level of transparency and within the respect of the sovereign rights of nations to determine their own legislation. This is the framework in which we wish to provide assistance.

The aim of the seminar is, indeed, to understand the degree of seriousness of these financial crimes issues, which require:

· The need of a coordinated approach to combat transnational scams;

· The need for neighbor countries to set up networks to share information;

· The need for specialists to use the same financial fraud investigation methods; and

· Finally, the need for Pacific countries to create similar domestic financial domestic financial intelligence units.

The necessity of regional collaboration on the matter is, I think, proven to you today by the organization of the workshop itself, where France, Canada and the International Monetary Fund have joined forces to make this seminar possible.

Last but not least, let me praise the resourcefulness of the Forum Secretariat for having gathered, this week in Suva, a panel of high-level presenters from New Zealand, the USA and specialized international institutions such as the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center.

And, of course, this is reflected by the extremely interesting content of the programs to be presented this week. Indeed, I must admit that most of the subject areas are of great significance to me. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the sessions due to other obligations.

I am sure that this high level course will produce effective and workable procedures and recommendations to be implemented or used as guidelines in all the countries confronted with the complex and sensitive issues of money laundering.

For additional information, contact: Ulafala Aiavao at UlafalaA@forumsec.org.fj 

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