U.S. high-level delegation attends conference on countering extremism in Astana

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - A high level U.S. delegation, led by Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Gil Kerlikowske, is in Astana from June 28 through June 30 for a conference of ministers and senior officials of 13 Central and South Asian states who will be meeting to discuss ways of countering violent extremism and developing a coordinated action plan, Kazinform refers to U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Kazakhstan.

The Central and South Asia Regional Conference on Countering Violent Extremism is hosted by Kazakhstan as follow-on to the Countering Violent Extremism Summit held in Washington D.C., on February 19, 2015. The original conference was attended by delegations of 12 partner states and 10 partner organizations in addition to representatives from civil society and the private sector.

As Commissioner, Mr. Kerlikowske runs the largest U.S. federal law enforcement agency and second largest revenue collecting source in the U.S. government, a 60,000-employee agency. He brings four decades of law enforcement and drug policy experience to the position. He formerly served nine years as the Chief of Police for Seattle, Washington. When he left, crime was at its lowest point in 40 years. Most recently, he served as Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In his opening remarks at the Conference, Commissioner Kerlikowske highlighted the importance of holding such regional conferences in order to develop new strategies and programs and build partnerships to address violent extremist challenges. He reiterated that no country is safe from this plague, and that comprehensive rule of law and community-based strategies are an essential part of the global effort to counter violent extremism.

Accompanying Commissioner Kerlikowske are Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Eileen O'Connor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Robert Berschinski, along with numerous representatives of city and federal law enforcement.

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