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US State Department: Macedonia’s capacity fighting terrorism must be strengthened

Due to the military pressure of extremists from the ISIS, in 2016, Europe was targeted by massive terrorist threats, US State Department said in a report on terrorism, adding that threats continue to the present day.

In the report on Macedonia it is stated that the Macedonian authorities estimate that ISIS members and supporters are still in the country. The State Department recalls that in 2016 Macedonia carried out three different anti-terrorist actions, one in coordination with the authorities of Albania and Kosovo, which led to the arrest of 23 people in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.

“In March, the government adopted a national anti-terrorism strategy. It says in the strategy, there is a part committed to protect against violent extremism, but there is no specific national strategy to combat violent extremism and protect it. The government drafted a national anti-terrorism action plan and submitted it for review to the European Commission, in November. However, the action plan lacks implementation markings, financial estimation, as well as mechanisms for supervision and evaluation”, says the report.

The State Department says it is necessary to strengthen Macedonia’s capacities for detecting and preventing terrorist acts without international support. The report also states that the country lacks a legal framework to combat money laundering and financing terrorism, as well as the criminalization of financing terrorism, and there are no clear mechanisms for implementation of UN measures. Another problem is that the country’s regulations are too complicated for freezing and confiscating assets from terrorist, which is based on a court verdict. According to the State Department, Macedonia has a seized asset management agency, but it has limited capacity and activities and requires additional training.

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