Canada Deepens Cooperation with Algeria in Fight Against Terrorism

September 15, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced a contribution of more than $1.2 million toward counterterrorism initiatives aimed at strengthening border security and judicial systems in North Africa and the Sahel. He made the announcement alongside Ramtane Lamamra, Algeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, during a visit to Algeria.

During their meeting, the ministers agreed to launch Canada-Algeria counterterrorism consultations. The two countries will seek to renew their terms, until 2015, as co-chairs of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Sahel working group.

“Algeria is a key partner for Canada in the fight against global terrorism,” said Baird. “Terrorism remains the great struggle of our generation, and Canada is committed to working with Algeria to strengthen security and counterterrorism efforts in North Africa and the Sahel.”

Canada and Algeria are founding members of the GCTF. Launched in 2011, the GCTF enables international coordination of civilian counterterrorism capacity building.

Through its Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, Canada provides training, funding, equipment and technical expertise to partner countries with a view to enabling them to prevent and respond to terrorist activities.

Baird will be returning home following his successful trip to Algeria, where he met with Abdelmalek Sellal, Algeria’s Prime Minister, as well as with Foreign Affairs Minister Lamamra.

“During my discussions with Prime Minister Sellal and Minister Lamamra, we agreed it is imperative that our two countries continue to work together to enhance security and economic prosperity in North Africa,” said Baird. “I also took this opportunity to thank the Algerian government for their cooperation in the aftermath of the In Amenas gas plant attack. On behalf of all Canadians, I offered our sincere condolences to the victims of this abhorrent terrorist act.”

For more information, visit Canada-Algeria Relations.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program Projects in North Africa and Sahel

The funding announced in Algeria today by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will come from Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program (CTCBP).

Through the CTCBP, the Government of Canada will partner with the following international organizations.

Strengthening the Criminal Justice System Against Terrorism in the Sahel
(Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal)

Implementing partner: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Time frame: December 2013-March 2015

Cost: $499,450

This project will implement counterterrorism legal frameworks in the Sahel region, so that suspected terrorists can be effectively brought to justice consistent with human rights standards, norms and obligations. This project will provide training tailored to each country’s specific gaps in the implementation of the legislation at both the national and regional level for criminal justice and law enforcement officers. Training will focus on developing the capacity to investigate, build and prosecute terrorism cases in order to bring terrorism cases to trial, process requests for extradition, and facilitate mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Additionally, this project will support the Regional Judicial Platform (RJP), a regional criminal justice cooperation mechanism established under Phase 1 of this project. This mechanism has already shown effective results: at least three criminal cases requiring regional judicial cooperation were dealt with through the RJP.  This project will provide specialized joint training to the members of the RJP in order to strengthen the capacities of criminal justice officers across the region in making effective use of this mechanism in resolving terrorism cases.

Strengthening Travel Document Security in the Sahel
(Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia)

Implementing partner: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Time frame: December 2013-March 2015

Cost: $750,000

This project will provide regional training to address administrative and operational deficiencies regarding travel document issuance and control, identity management and border security. ICAO will conduct technical assessment missions to identify vulnerabilities and capacity gaps related to combatting terrorism and transborder crime in the Sahel. These missions will include visits to points of entry and travel document issuance and control centres, and will result in targeted capacity-building plans. Specialized training will concentrate on enhancing travel document and border security for combatting terrorism and cross-border crime in the region. The focus areas will include improving the integrity of the passport issuance process and managing the evidence of identity, as well as travel document inspection and forensic document examination.