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Late yesterday the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) completed an Extraordinary Plenary on Combating Terrorist Financing. As many of you know this was a highly unusual event - made even more remarkable by the location of these meetings here in Washington a little over one month after the horrific attacks of September 11th. The United States Department of Treasury is grateful to the FATF member countries for their quick response to the terrorist attacks. Under the able leadership of FATF President Clarie Lo, they have done more than just espouse empty rhetoric. They have taken decisive action. After the terrible attacks of September 11th the 29 member countries mobilized quickly to meet here in Washington this week to strategize on a set of international standards designed to combat terrorist financing, a fancy term for money that kills. These new standards are much more than just complicated regulations filled with technical jargon. It takes large sums of money to perpetrate well-orchestrated crimes like the world witnessed on September 11th. FATF efforts to shut down the financial base of these terrorist organizations cannot be underestimated. When we shut down the money flow we shut down the terrorist's ability to commit future acts of violence and destruction. Let me be clear - I believe the work done this week by FATF is a proactive step in the war on terrorism that could potentially save thousands of lives. And this is just the beginning. FATF has proven extremely effective in convincing other nations to comply with its anti-money laundering guidelines and they will bring the same commitment and vigor to the new, expanded role they will play in the ongoing fight to disrupt and dismantle the financial infrastructure of terrorist groups worldwide.
As many of you know, President Bush has spoken publicly about the importance of international cooperation in the global war on terrorism. The actions taken this week are indicative of that kind of cooperation as they represent another link in the global chain designed to choke off the cash flow to terrorist organizations and to keep these evil criminals out of the international banking system. We are grateful for the passion and dedication shown by our FATF partners in combating the faceless enemies who now threaten freedom-loving people everywhere.
I want to talk for a moment about some of the highlights of the plenary session that the Treasury Department feels will be particularly beneficial in the fight against terrorist financing. Let me begin by pointing out that the FATF adopted 8 Special Recommendations which specifically target the ability of terrorists to generate income for their organizations thus isolating the terrorists financially. These recommendations will represent the new international standard in the fight against terrorist financing. They include reaffirmation of the responsibility of countries to ratify the U.N. Convention of the Suppression of Terrorist Financing and to implement relevant Security Council resolutions. They also chart new territory by requiring countries to crack down on alternative remittance systems such as hawala, strengthen customer identification measures for wire transfers, and ensure that charities are not misused to finance terrorists. In addition, the FATF also endorsed an Action Plan that will immediately begin to bring member nations and the entire world community into compliance with these new measures. The Action Plan calls for member nations to come into full compliance with the Special Recommendations by June 2002. It is important to note that FATF has invited countries throughout the world to participate in this process on the same terms of FATF members, emphasizing the importance of universal cooperation on this vital matter. Finally, beginning in June 2002, FATF will initiate a process to identify jurisdictions that lack appropriate measures to combat terrorist financing and to take appropriate steps with respect to these countries. The FATF has successfully utilized similar procedures in the past against countries that support money-laundering schemes. We are optimistic that these tools will also prove effective in this new fight against terrorist financing. The Treasury Department also applauds the FATF's commitment to issue guidance to countries and financial institutions on preventing future terrorist financing in their jurisdictions. We believe this to be an important element in a strategic, proactive approach to fighting terrorism on a global scale.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that dismantling the terrorist's financial underpinnings will be a complex and time consuming task. We cannot do it alone. The actions taken this week by the FATF are indicative of the kind of cooperation and international teamwork necessary to shutdown those who perpetrate acts of terror against us and other law abiding nations.
I would be happy to answer a few questions at this time.
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