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Progress in Combating Transnational Crime in Southeastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus
The countries of South Eastern Europe, the European Union and the U.S. are committed to eradicating transnational criminal activities such as human trafficking, narcotics and corruption. The Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center against Trans-Border Crime is a unique example of a successful regional cooperative effort, yielding significant results.

SECI-GUUAM (Virtual law Enforcement Center against Trans-border Crime of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Moldova) country missions’ representatives discussed the possibilities for enhanced cooperation between these countries in countering trans-border crime and corruption at a meeting at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington DC on April 23, 2004. The main goal of this meeting, which follows on similar previous gatherings, was to exchange information among the Embassies with special focus on operational successes, obstacles, lessons learned and future steps.

Dr. Ognian Shentov, CSD Chairman spoke on the recent developments in cross-border organized crime in Southeast Europe and the potential of public-private partnerships from the perspective of the NGO community. Mr. Boyko Todorov, CSD Program Director, introduced the audience to the objectives and main activities of the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative (SELDI).

Dr. John Markey, Director of Law Enforcement Assistance at the Department of State, highlighted some existing success cooperation stories: Bulgaria had provided customs technical assistance to Georgia and Ukraine; Turkey would serve as a stand-by center for technical assistance to Central Asia countries. He also pointed out that US assistance to SECI and GUUAM is crucial as it is the only country that has leverage vis-à-vis all the countries but using indigenous regional know-how, as the one in Bulgaria (on anti-corruption) and in Turkey (on trans-border crime) is key to the success of these initiatives.

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