Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 20-07-2019 09:25

Authorities 'concerned' about terrorist presence in LatAm, says Faurie

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie's comments came one day after the 25th anniversary of the bombing attack on the AMIA cultural centre in downtown Buenos Aires. 

Argentine authorities are "concerned" about the "presence of people and entities tied to terrorist groups" in the region, the country's Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said Friday.

Faurie's comments came one day after the 25th anniversary of the bombing attack on the 1994 AMIA Jewish community centre bombing, Argentina’s worst-ever terrorist attack.

Argentina "will not give up its fight to ensure those suspected of the attack appear in our country's tribunals", he told a crowd at the Second Ministerial Conference on the Fight Against Terrorism, held at the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires, with guests including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Security Minister Patricia Bullrich.

Pompeo announced Friday morning that Washington would offer up to US$7 million for information leading to the identification or arrest of Hezbollah operative Salman Raouf Salman, who he accused of being the mastermind behind the AMIA attack.

Regional governments, in collaboration with the United States, will hold quarterly meetings on the issue across the region, Faurie confirmed. The countries involved are Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. The first "will happen before the end of the year" in Asunción, sources confirmed told Perfil.

Faurie said authorities are concerned about terrorist activity in the region "in the form of financing or attempts to recruit".

"The Mauricio Macri government, interpreting a sentiment in our society, has started to combat terrorism as an enormous security objective, by introducing a strict regional and domestic coordination mechanism", he explained.

On Thursday, hundreds of people gathered to commemorate the bombing of the AMIA Jewish cultural centre, which left 85 dead and hundreds injured. The case remains unresolved in the courts. Argentina's Congress last week, at committe level, approved a draft bill to try alleged Iranian perpetrators "in abstentia".

"In this same Palace, in 1992, the walls shook as a bomb went off at the Israeli Embassy just 300 metres from here. Argentina woke up that day and terrorism became a crude reality", Faurie said, in reference to the attack that preceeded the AMIA bombing.

-TIMES/ARGENTINA

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