x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Arab countries urged to develop uniform border procedures

Delegates at a security conference in Abu Dhabi are recommended to standardise procedures at land crossings.

ABU DHABI // Border-control procedures at land crossings across the Arab world should be uniform as they are at seaports and airports, delegates at a security conference in the capital recommended. "It is a very fragile situation because, for example, so many lorries can be lined up at one side of the border and it is difficult to manage these volumes," said Dr Mohammed al Bushra of the Ministry of Interior and an academic adviser to the conference convened by the Riyadh-based Naif Arab University for Security Sciences and Abu Dhabi Police's centre of research and security studies.

"We will be looking at how to develop a system to secure transported items from the point of departure to arrival." Representatives of law enforcement agencies, academics and government officials from throughout the Middle East outlined proposals to be considered by Arab interior ministries. Discussions also focused on border security. "International co-operation is particularly important in this area, as ensuring safety at borders is not just for Arab countries, but for all," Dr al Bushra said. "It is not just limited to Arab countries, as breaches of security can affect all countries concerned."

Delegates from countries including Libya, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pointed towards the need to share technological advances in border control. Among the recommendations is a central database to facilitate co-ordinated responses during emergencies and a proposal to share geographic data relating to border security issues. Another of the recommendations was for Naif University to host a website for centralised border information, including contact details for all the relevant regional authorities.

"Ultimately we are interested in making things easy for people to travel," Dr al Bushra said. "We shouldn't make rules that hinder these efforts." zconstantine@thenational.ae