Ladies and Gentlemen Representatives of the Press & the Media, It is my pleasure to welcome you to this press conference held by the Ministry of Finance & National Economy to mark the Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the Middle East & North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. His Highness the Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, has kindly agreed to be the patron of the event.
It is a great honour for me to express deep gratitude to His Highness the Prime Minister for consenting to the event being held under His Highness’ gracious patronage. Such a step is of special significance, as it shows that the political leadership fully supports the new regional body and the crucial role it will play in raising compliance with the standards and measures required to combat money laundering and terrorist financing on both a regional and international level.
The Kingdom of Bahrain was selected to host the secretariat of MENAFATF in the margins of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary Meeting in Paris on the 2nd of July, 2004.
The nomination reflected the recognition of the international community to the sound financial and monetary policies of the Kingdom, adopted under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, His Highness the Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and His Highness the Crown Prince and Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
The choice of Bahrain to host the MENAFATF secretariat came as a vote of confidence from the international community in its prudential financial markets management and administrative and regulatory competence in areas relating to banking and finance. It also came in recognition of the Kingdom’s concerted efforts along with relevant international organizations and institutions to combat all forms of money laundering and terrorist financing.
In its Plenary Meeting held in Paris last October, the FATF expressed full support for MENAFATF and the role played by other FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FRSBs) in combating money laundering and terrorist financing at a regional level.
For its part, the Ministry of Finance & National Economy is taking all necessary steps to ensure the success of the event in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs and the Bahrain Monetary Agency.
The meeting will be held on 29-30 November 2004 and attended by the Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks and Monetary Agencies or their representatives of a number of countries of the region. The first day will be devoted to a technical session. On the second day, the ministers will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) launching the new regional body. They will also appoint the President, Vice-President and Executive Secretary of MENAFATF.