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'SA not high security concern for the US'

Apr 07 2016 18:24
Carin Smith

Dallas – From a security perspective, the US is more concerned about other countries in Africa – especially North Africa – than about South Africa, US Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told Fin24 on Thursday at the global summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

“Not all places in Africa are equal from a security perspective. Some are of greater concern than others. The same goes for Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” he told Fin24.

He emphasised the enhancement of the security of the public can exist with the easy flow of travel.

“These two areas can co-exist perfectly well,” emphasised Mayorkas. “The events in Brussels showed that it is not just the screening of passengers, but also airports as a place of mass congregation of people which are of concern.”

At the same time, he said, there is “mass progress” in security controls by the US – both in screening passengers as well as in training staff. Extensive private sector expertise has also been consulted in enhancing the ability to innovate.

“We are not guided by rhetoric, but by facts, threat intelligence and investigation,” said Mayorkas.

“It is clear from world events that boundaries between nations are blurred in terms of the people wanting to do harm. Therefore, we need an international response to threats. The events of the past 12 months have made this clear.”

In his view, an important aspect has to be the exchange of information about people of concern. The US is also set on increasing the number of pre-clearance facilities at airports outside of the US.

“We are pushing the security boundary out, in other words,” he explained.

* Fin24 is a guest of the WTTC at its global summit.

us  |  south africa  |  brussels  |  travel and leisure
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