G8 meeting focuses on terrorism, uncontrolled immigration
ST. PETERSBURG - Heads of the parliaments of the G8 group of industrialized nations exchanged at the meeting in St. Petersburg legislative acts on the fight against terrorism and uncontrolled immigration, a Russian parliament member said.
The issues of fight against terrorism and uncontrolled immigration were among the key issues on the agenda of the G8 heads of parliaments, who met at the Tavrichesky Palace in St. Petersburg. In July St. Petersburg hosted a G8 summit as Russia holds this year a rotating chair in the organization.
“As for the definite results, I would say it was a principal agreement to move toward the unification of national legislations in the fight against terrorism and uncontrolled immigration,” Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, said. “We agreed to begin with exchange of national legislation acts, to form a base of accumulated experience and to lead the legislation to its unification.”
But he added that the issue was not about the unification of the G8 member states’ political systems.
Kosachev said Russia was interested in experience of other countries in the fight against terrorism, particularly the experience of Britain, which had prevented a number of terrorist attacks.
“We are particularly interested in Great Britain’s experience in the sphere of video surveillance in public places,” he said and added that the issue was delicate and needed to be studied.
In August this year London police reported that a terrorist conspiracy involving up to 21 people had been foiled. They said the suspects had planned to bring explosives on board in hand luggage and to set them off on flights to the United States.
He also said that illegal migration remained a big problem for Russia, which required decisive steps to resolve it.
“Illegal migration has been and still is a big problem and a source of organized crime and drug trafficking,” Kosachev said but added that “Russia would not resolve its demographic problem without attracting labor resources to the country.”
Russia is facing a demographic crisis - the UN has suggested that its population of 142 million could fall by a third by 2050 - and migration has been touted as one way to make up for the shortfall.
Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, said at the meeting of parliamentary speakers that G8 member states should unite efforts to fight human trafficking.
“As for the problem of human trafficking, it has acquired a trans-border nature and demands coordinated efforts of G8 countries,” Gryzlov said. “We are convinced that G8 parliaments attach great significance to this serious humanitarian problem, and call on our colleagues to contribute to the eradication of this shameful phenomenon in the 21st century through joint efforts.”
The Russian speaker also said that the member countries of the G8 group of industrialized nations should unite efforts in fight against uncontrolled expansion of weapons of mass destruction.
“Our common task is to provide a high level of security, including from threats, which could emerge from uncontrolled expansion of weapons of mass destruction,” Gryzlov said. “I believe we should not have any disagreements on this issue and we have to do everything possible to preserve existing agreements and to prevent nuclear weapons from expanding all over the world and getting into irresponsible hands, especially into the hands of terrorists.”
Gryzlov said Moscow believed the existing international legal base in the sphere of fight against cyber-terrorism is insufficient and adequate legislation is necessary to respond to this threat.
“We are convinced that there is an objective necessity to develop legislation on the fight against cyber-terrorism,” he said. He added that terrorists actively used computers to organize attacks and propagate their ideology.
Gryzlov said he believed the existing international legal base and the Council of Europe convention on cyber-terrorism of 2001 were not sufficient to effectively counter terrorist actions, which, he said, are becoming more sophisticated and large-scale.
“An adequate response is needed here, including through legislation to new challenges of terrorist forces in the computer sphere,” he said.
Speaking about energy security problems also on the meeting agenda, Gryzlov said this meant not only stable supplies of main consumers with energy resources. “This is a far wider notion, and it includes production, transportation and sale at energy markets. And all links in this chain, representatives of all links, are equally responsible,” he said.
The Russian speaker said the situation in the sphere was constantly changing and misunderstandings sometimes occurred because the position of some countries is unclear. “We are often faced with our partners’ unwillingness to correctly assess strategic threats that could arise for energy resource suppliers in connection with transit countries’ incorrect behavior,” he said.
During a price dispute with Ukraine in January, Russia briefly cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, and Russian energy giant Gazprom later accused Ukraine of siphoning off Europe-bound gas during the embargo. The situation aroused concerns in Europe about Russia’s reliability as a gas supplier.