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24 September 2001

Air Travel Safety Focus of U.N. Civil Aviation Agency Meeting in Montreal

(Ending terrorist threat to airlines is goal of Sept. 25-Oct. 5
meeting) (370)
Washington -- Air travel security will be the focus when member states
of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
meet Sept. 25-October 5 in Montreal, the United Nations announced.
In a September 21 statement, the U.N. said the meeting brings together
the ICAO's 187 contracting states, which includes the United States.
The Montreal-based ICAO sets international standards and regulations
necessary for the safety and security of air transport.
Assad Kotaite, president of the ICAO council, said the September 11
terrorist attacks in the United States represent the "greatest threat
ever to civil aviation security, adding: "For the first time, aircraft
have been used as weapons of destruction." Kotaite said that the
primary objective at the Montreal meeting will be to identify the
means "by which we can eradicate this new threat and restore
confidence in a system that remains fundamentally safe, secure, and
efficient."
The U.N. said participants at the meeting will also discuss expansion
of ICAO's Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program, regulation of air
transportation services, and environmental protection.
Kotaite said the misuse of civil aviation as a weapon of mass
destruction was "contrary to the spirit of peace and cooperation among
nations" contained in the 1944 Convention on International Civil
Aviation.
"The preamble to the Convention clearly recognizes the power of civil
aviation to create and preserve friendship and understanding among
nations, upon which the peace of the world depends," Kotaite said.
The U.N. announcement was made the same day that Jane Garvey, head of
the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, said in congressional
testimony that federal security requirements for airports and air
carriers operating in the United States had been stepped up
"substantially" since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Garvey said that in addition to new measures implemented immediately
after the attacks, U.S. officials and investigators continue to
discuss other steps to improve air safety, with a focus on cockpit
security.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)



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