South American nations have proposed creating a new regional body to fight transnational crime, reported local media Friday.
“There is now a broad consensus in South America to address transnational crime in a coordinated manner,” Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told press following a meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Cartagena.
UNASUR representatives recommended the creation of a working group to develop statutes and an action plan for a new “Council for Public Safety, Justice and Cooperation.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he approved of the initiative. “Only together can we end transnational organized crime. Criminals must know that there will not be a single place where they can hide when nations come together,” he said.
Santos also highlighted the need to tackle the financial sources of drug trafficking. “We have to fight money laundering mainly because that’s where it hurts the criminals. Getting them out of their money is critical,” said Santos.
The new council must be approved at the next meeting of UNASUR member presidents, which will be held in July in Paraguay.