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Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 10, 2003


Signing of the UN Convention Against Corruption

The United States, represented by Attorney General John Ashcroft, signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption yesterday in Merida, Mexico. The Convention represents a major advance in the international fight against corruption. We worked hard for this result.

Over 100 additional nations are expected to sign the Convention during a High Level Signing Conference being hosted by President Fox and the Government of Mexico from December 9 through 11. The United States has been an active participant during the entire two-year negotiation process, and has been committed to working with participating governments to produce a convention that can have truly global acceptance and application.

The Convention contains a wide range of provisions that will strengthen international efforts to fight corruption -- in which the United States Government is already a leader -- and complement ongoing existing international initiatives in the G-8, OECD, OAS, and other multilateral fora. It contributes to a number of general areas relating to a government's anticorruption efforts; including:

  1. Criminalization:   requires governments to criminalize the bribing of their own and foreign public officials and other corruption-related crimes such as embezzlement and money laundering.

  1. Prevention:   requires governments to take a number of measures to prevent corruption, including those that promote integrity among their public officials and increase the participation of civil society in the fight against corruption.

    International cooperation, including with respect to asset recovery:   provides a practical channel for governments to work together to extradite persons and exchange evidence regarding corruption offenses, and recover assets illicitly acquired by corrupt public officials.

  1. Cooperation in implementation: creates a vehicle for governments to monitor implementation of the Convention and to share expertise and provide technical assistance relating to their anticorruption efforts.

2003/1245

Released on December 10, 2003

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