Middle East signs up to security pact

Middle East states have pledged to work far more closely together to improve passenger and cargo security throughout the region, as part of a global initiative to counter terrorism.

A summit held this week in Bahrain was the latest in a series of conferences held around the world to build consensus in the run-up to a high-level security conference at the Montreal-based UN aviation agency ICAO in September.

Thirteeen Middle Eastern states have now agreed on the key steps required to support ICAO’s objective to advance aviation security.

Kamel Ahmed Mohammed, Bahrain transport minister, said: “States of the Middle East are determined to continuously improve their security systems in partnership with all stakeholders,” he said. “Only through such close cooperation will it be possible to further enhance civil aviation security in the region.”

“As we strive to enhance aviation security, the priorities of States are ICAO’s priorities,” said Raymond Benjamin, ICAO secretary general. “We must all join forces to eliminate the continuing threat of terrorism.”

Joining ICAO and national civil aviation authorities at the conference were regional bodies and international organisations including the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC), Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Government officials from Australia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States also participated.

The 13 member states were: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

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