Interpol elects United Arab Emirates official as president

AFP , AP , Thursday 25 Nov 2021

Interpol on Thursday elected an official from the United Arab Emirates as its new president during the international law enforcement body's annual General Assembly held in Istanbul.

Ahmed Naser al-Raisi
Inspector general at the United Arab Emirates interior ministry Maj. Gen. Ahmed Naser al-Raisi speaks on his cell phone during the first day of the Interpol annual assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. AP


Maj. Gen. Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, inspector general at the United Arab Emirates' interior ministry and a member of Interpol's executive committee, was elected for one four-year term, the global policing body announced. .


Another candidate, Hu Binchen, an official at China's ministry of public security, was elected to join Interpol's executive committee as a delegate from Asia.


Interpol said al-Raisi was elected following three rounds of voting and received 68.9% of the votes cast in the final round.


``It's an honor to have been elected to serve as the next president of Interpol,`` the global police agency quoted al-Raisi as saying.


``Interpol is an indispensable organization built on the strength of its partnerships. It is this collaborative spirit, united in mission, that I will continue to foster as we work to make a safer world for people and communities,`` he said.


The vote for president was being closely watched since the first-ever Chinese president of the body, Meng Hongwei, vanished midway through his four-year term on a return trip to China in 2018.


In the UAE, now hosting the Expo 2020 world's fair in Dubai and marking the 50th anniversary of its founding, Emirati officials celebrated al-Raisi's selection. Interior Minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said it demonstrated ``the world's confidence in the UAE.''


Al-Raisi praised UAE's leaders, saying ``with their guidance and expertise, the UAE has become one of the safest countries in the world.'' He pledged to modernize Interpol's technology, promote women and meet new challenges like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.


``I will also continue to reaffirm a core tenet of our profession,  that police abuse or mistreatment of any kind is abhorrent and intolerable,'' he said in a statement on his website. ``The credibility and standing of Interpol and global law enforcement is our most important asset.''


Al-Raisi traveled the world to meet lawmakers and government officials as part of his election campaign, boasting academic degrees from the U.K. and the U.S. and years of experience of policing.


Al-Raisi replaces Kim Jong Yan from South Korea, a vice president who was swiftly elected as a replacement to serve out the rest of Meng's term.


Although Interpol's secretary-general runs Interpol on a day-to-day basis, the president plays a role in supervising the police body's work and guiding its overall general direction. The president chairs Interpol's general assemblies and meetings of its Executive Committee.


The post of secretary-general is currently held by Juergen Stock of Germany.


Meanwhile, Interpol also said Valdecy Urquiza of Brazil was elected to the post of vice president for the Americas, while Garba Baba Umar of Nigeria was elected vice president for Africa.


About 470 police chiefs, ministers and other representatives from more than 160 countries attended the three-day meeting. Each country attending has one vote.

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