First Euro-Arab Border Security Conference Opens in Amman

Amman — The first edition of an Arab-European border security conference was launched in Amman on Wednesday, aiming to open bridges of regional and global dialogues on managing border security and responding to a range of security risks and emerging crimes.

The first Euro-Arab Border Security Conference is organized by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the General Secretariat of the Arab Interior Ministers Council (AIMC) in cooperation and coordination with the Jordanian Public Security Department (PSD).

The conference, which was inaugurated by Interior Minister Mazen Faraya on behalf of the Prime Minister, aims to launch an international dialogue on border security and preventing and combating migrant smuggling, human trafficking, cross-border crime, and terrorism.

More than 100 high-ranking representatives of border authorities in 44 countries from the European Union and the Arab world are participating in the conference, in addition to bodies including the European Commission, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Organization for Migration, and the International Center for Migration Policy Development.

Jordan and other countries bear heavy security burdens that require more support to prevent infiltration, smuggling, drug trafficking, and other contraband.

Minister of Interor Mazen Faraya

In a speech, Faraya called for closer Euro-Arab cooperation on border management to face what he said are common challenges, stressing the importance of taking into account the economic dimensions and freedom of travel and movement of people across borders.

He said that Jordan and other countries bear heavy security burdens that require more support to prevent infiltration, smuggling, drug trafficking, and other contraband. 

The minister noted that the conference is taking place at a time when Jordan is still hosting more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees for more than a decade, explaining that the Kingdom, despite its limited resources, is still providing all services to refugees, including Covid-19 vaccines.

In addition to helping the refugees and their hosts, the minister indicated that managing the Syrian refugee crisis requires the resettlement of part of them in other countries based on the principle of burden-sharing, and at the same time, launching an international effort to restore stability to Syria to ensure the safe return of these refugees.

Minister of Interior Mazen Faraya at The first Edition of an Arab-European Border Security Conference. Amman, Dec. 2021.

With regard to the response to the Corona pandemic, Faraya stressed the importance of coordination and agreement on strict health protocols on the borders between countries to protect human health, preserve health and economic systems and prevent their collapse.

In turn, AIMC Secretary-General Muhammad bin Ali Koman, affirmed that Euro-Arab cooperation has yielded “impressive results” in addressing security and criminal challenges, foremost of which are terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration.

He noted that the conference will discuss three major global issues, namely, border security and control, the coronavirus pandemic, and illegal immigration, to come up with recommendations that advance cooperation and coordination to confront these issues.

European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said that the conference will discuss a number of issues such as illegal migration, and combatting criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

He added: “These criminal organizations breed corruption, destabilize our societies, and cause immense human suffering. Moreover, they are often also engaging in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and sometimes fund and equip terrorist organizations.”

The Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri stressed that there could not be a better place than Amman for this conference to succeed due to the effective partnership between European border security agencies and their counterparts in Arab countries.

He called for launching a constructive dialogue with partners to combat crime and enhance border security through the application and development of border security protection protocols.