June 20, 2019
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Spain's Senate VP urges multilateral anti-terror cooperation at Egypt meeting

 A handout photo shows Spanish Senate Vice president Pedro Sanz attending the opening session of the fifth Summit of the Speakers of Parliament at the parliamentary assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in Cairo, Egypt, Apr. 28, 2017. EPA-EFE/SPANISH SENATE HANDOUT

A handout photo shows Spanish Senate Vice president Pedro Sanz attending the opening session of the fifth Summit of the Speakers of Parliament at the parliamentary assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in Cairo, Egypt, Apr. 28, 2017. EPA-EFE/SPANISH SENATE HANDOUT

Cairo, Apr 29 (efe-epa).- The first vice president of Spain's Senate stressed the need for multilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism during a Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) meeting that runs through Sunday.

"Nations can no longer look after their own security by themselves, even as they find themselves forced to contribute more to their own defense," Pedro Sanz said Saturday in a speech at the 5th Assembly of the Heads of Parliaments of the member states of the Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM.

At present, "anti-terrorism cooperation is mainly bilateral because of the mutual trust required in sharing sensitive information, such as law-enforcement (data)," he said, though also calling for this cooperation to be extended "to multilateral cooperation spheres and other international forums."

Legislative bodies must "maintain a role as watchdog" and assume their parliamentary oversight functions in guaranteeing that anti-terrorism legislation is implemented and serves to cut off terrorism financing sources, Sanz, a member of Spain's ruling center-right Popular Party, said.

"But not only that. Parliaments also can more effectively promote cooperation among partner countries and help ensure that collaborative mechanisms are more operational," he added.

In his speech, Sanz also reviewed several measures adopted as part of the European framework for combating youth radicalization and the dissemination of online jihadist propaganda.

Several platforms "are removing more illegal content than ever," he stressed, noting that this "shows that self-regulation is possible."

He said, however, that countries must "respond more quickly to terrorist propaganda and other illegal content that poses a grave threat to security and our citizens' basic rights."

In that respect, Sanz called for assessing whether parliaments need to take "concrete legislative action" to bolster the fight against terrorist groups' propaganda.

The meeting in Cairo of elected representatives from member states of the UfM, which comprises all 28 countries of the European Union and 15 countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, was inaugurated on Saturday.

The central theme of the gathering, whose attendees include European Parliament Vice President David Sassoli, is "counter-terrorism in the Euro-Mediterranean region."

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