The Bahrain-based Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task force (MENAFATF) which was launched in November 2004, held its first Plenary meeting in Manama. Representatives of the fourteen member countries (The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon, The United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, The Republic of Tunisia, The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, State of Kuwait, The Republic of Lebanon, The Arab Republic of Egypt, The Kingdom of Morocco, The Republic of Yemen), observer countries (United Kingdom, and United States of America) and observer institutions (International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) attended the said Plenary. The President, Dr. Muhammad Baasiri and Vice-President, Mr. Mahmoud Abdel Latif were elected in November 2004 to serve for the year 2005, and the Executive Secretary, Mr. Adel Al-Qulish was elected for a four-year term, renewable.
The Plenary concluded a two-day discussion of subjects and issues pertaining to the AML/CFT policies and strategies of MENAFATF and approved forwarded subjects among which the setting up of working groups, budget and the work plan. The Plenary will be followed by a two-day seminar on "Awareness Raising" that would be attended by the member countries representatives. This seminar is the first to be run by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in conjunction with a MENAFATF function.
The President opened the Plenary in praising the commitment of member countries, support of observer countries and institutions and the wonderful hosting of the Secretariat by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The president outlined the Plenary agenda and projected a vision to implement the objectives of this Body.
H.E. Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance praised the efforts of the representatives and commended the hard worked of the President, Vice-President and the Executive Secretary. H.E. Sheikh Ibrahim alluded to the effectiveness of the pertinent regulations in the Kingdom of Bahrain that fit very well in the course of achieving a pre-eminent financial center in the MENA region.
MENAFATF plans to hold the next Plenary in Lebanon at the end of September 2005.