Parliamentarians from 16 countries of the MENA region gathered in Egypt to discuss legislative practices aimed at translating UN Security Council resolutions into national legislation, to contribute to the establishment of the Global Parliamentary Network on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, and to strengthen regional inter-parliamentary cooperation on this matter.
The regional conference on “The role of parliamentarians in addressing the threat of foreign terrorist fighters and associated challenges”, co-organised by the UN and IPU, in collaboration with PAM and the EU, was held in Luxor on 26-28 February 2019. The event was hosted by the Egyptian Parliament.
Hon. Pedro Roque, PAM President Emeritus and President of the PAM Committee on Political and Security cooperation, and Hon. Belal Qasem, PAM Vice President, addressed and contributed to the event. 
At the opening session, Hon. Roque highlighted the long-standing cooperation between the UN and PAM on harmonization of national legislations to combat terrorism in the Euro-Mediterranean region. He recalled that the week before, at the 13th PAM Plenary Session in Belgrade, the challenges posed by returning and relocating Foreign Terrorist Fighters were debated in depth, with particular emphasis placed on Prevention of Radicalization. In Belgrade, it was also agreed to establish a special PAM Committee on Terrorism, led by Hon. Gennaro Migliore of Italy, which will dedicate a session to the delicate question of “Youth and Prevention”. In his conclusions, President Roque also highlighted the key recommendations included into the resolution on counter-terrorism that PAM delegates adopted unanimously in Serbia. 
On the margins of the conference, the PAM delegation met with H.E. Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates, who expressed great interest in strengthening relations with PAM, including the intention to sign a cooperation agreement leading to UAE Council’s Associate Membership with PAM. A high-level PAM delegation shall pay an official visit to Abu-Dhabi in the coming weeks to formalise this cooperation. 
The main objective of the regional conference was to generate discussions and exchanges about the opportunities available to and the challenges parliaments face in countering terrorism and preventing extremism leading to terrorism. 
The conference aimed at: 
- Enhancing regional parliamentary cooperation and exchange of relevant experiences and good practices on specialized areas pertaining to countering and preventing terrorism, including the regional mobilization of foreign terrorist fighters, and establishing efficient coordination between the countries of the region through an exchange of knowledge, experience, and good practices. 
- Gathering recommendations or suggestions from parliamentarians to UN agencies regarding the challenges and needs they face in order to turn UN resolutions into legislations. 
- Promoting the work of the IPU-UN Joint Programme and demonstrate all the advantages and benefits it offers to parliamentarians. 
- Contributing to the establishment of the Global Parliamentary Network on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism. 
- Increasing the awareness of parliamentarians on recent developments pertaining to foreign terrorist fighters.// 
issued on: 01.03.2019
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