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DOS Announces Agreement on Passports with New Zealand

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 06032862 (posted Mar. 28, 2006)"

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 27, 2006

United States/Australia/New Zealand Cooperation on Travel Documents

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty and the Honorable David Cunliffe, New Zealand Minister of Immigration, today completed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to include New Zealand in the passport alert system known as the Regional Movement Alert List (RMAL).

RMAL is an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) counterterrorism initiative, originally piloted in September 2005 by the United States and Australia as an enhancement to their existing border management systems. It is an automated procedure that shares information on lost, stolen or otherwise invalid passports, and where appropriate, prevents their use for travel. When fully implemented in APEC, RMAL will have the potential to identify up to three million lost or stolen passports across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed today expands the program to include the participation of New Zealand, effective March 31, 2006. New Zealand's participation in the RMAL pilot marks a key milestone as the program grows from a bilateral to a multilateral project. The RMAL database will draw on current information to assist in detecting and preventing travel by air of known or suspected terrorists.

RMAL is a specific security commitment that APEC Leaders called for in combating terrorism in the 2003 Bangkok Declaration, the 2004 Santiago Declaration, and the 2005 Busan Declaration. It will enhance the effectiveness of the existing Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) and has the potential to become an important part of the border and transportation security infrastructure of the region.

2006/316

Released on March 27, 2006