Council of Europe signatures to cost €63,000

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The Latvian government on Tuesday allocated 63,850 euros to hold a conference and signing ceremony about terrorism, the BNS newswire reported Tuesday from the Cabinet office.

In late October officials of the Council of Europe, including ministers from the 46 member states, will arrive in Riga to participate in a ceremony for signing the 'Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism' and take part in a conference on individuals who travel abroad for the purposes of terrorism, BNS said.

As it has not been possible to plan organization of these events in due time, financing for them has not been included in the Foreign Ministry's budget, so the ministry had prepared a draft project and asked for €63,850 for the event from emergency funds.

The ceremony for signing of the protocol will take place in Riga on October 22, but the Latvian contribution covers only part of the costs, with other cash coming from the Council of Europe itself - which should not be confused with the European Council.

Even more confusingly, the official flag of the 46-member Council of Europe is identical to that of the 28-member European Union.

In fact the Additional Protocol was adopted by the CoE's Committee of Ministers in May, but the signing ceremony in Riga will put icing on the cake.

Speaking on September 23 in Strasbourg, CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland told his members:

"The protocol defines more precisely the offences set out in the UN Security Council Resolution 2178 on 'threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts' and commits parties to establish the required criminal offences under their domestic law.

"It will be opened for signature on 22 October in Riga.

"And I urge you to use your influence to encourage all your governments to sign and ratify without delay and, of course, to ratify the mother Convention, if they haven't already.

Attendees might potentially include Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov or more likely Russia's CoE permanent representative Alexander Alekseev.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry said that signing of the protocol and the conference in Riga will be "an historic event" as this will be the first time an international agreement will be signed in Riga.

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