Interpol meet kicks off in Bali; Palestine’s membership, IS on agenda

Bangkok, Nov 7 (IANS) The 85th Interpol General Assembly kicked off on Monday in the Indonesian island of Bali, with the agenda expected to focus on the membership of Palestine and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Around 830 delegates, including police chiefs from 164 of the 190 member countries, were taking part in the meet set to continue till Thursday, reported Efe news.

The subject of Palestine’s incorporation as a member state – after it presented its request more than a year back — is expected to be discussed amid strong opposition from Israel.

Palestine was granted an observer status at the UN in 2012, and since then it has joined several bodies such as Unesco and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in a bid to be recognized as a state internationally.

To be admitted, the Palestine National Authority requires the support of two-thirds plus one of the 190 members, which could become a possibility, as 130 countries have already recognized Palestine as a State.

Most European and western countries, however, are hesitant to grant this recognition considering that the establishment of the Palestine state should be a result of definitive peace agreement with Israel, marking the extent of their borders.

The meeting is also expected to discuss the establishment of mechanisms to counter the threat posed by return of fighters from conflict zones in the Near East.

Indonesia, which specifically faces this problem, will seek to increase cooperation to contain the expansion of the IS and allow for extraditions from Syria and Iraq, where some 300 Indonesians are fighting, according to The Jakarta Post.

Interpol President Mireille Ballestrazzi said the organization today is better positioned to tackle the challenges it faces.

“Interpol’s strategies to counter terrorism, organized and emerging crime and cybercrime, to be presented during this conference, will provide crucial support in our united response to these global threats,” said Ballestrazzi, according to the statement.