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Homeland security chief talks security in Mideast

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:29 PM EST, Sat December 3, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Napolitano is visiting the Arab gulf region
  • She stresses the importance of security cooperation
  • DHS has a presence in 75 nations
  • The secretary had been in Paris

(CNN) -- America's homeland security chief is visiting two Gulf states over the next few days in a trip that underscores the agency's "international footprint" and stresses the importance of international security cooperation.

Janet Napolitano plans to advance the Department of Homeland Security's role in international law enforcement efforts in a four-day trip to Qatar and United Arab Emirates that began Saturday.

On Saturday, she was to meet with Qatari Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani "on continued collaboration and increased security initiatives between the United States and Qatar," DHS said.

Napolitano will join U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca at the Gulf States Global Police Symposium in Abu Dhabi. She'll be delivering remarks on the department's "partnerships with the international law enforcement community."

Along with international cooperation, other subjects on the agenda are law enforcement exchange programs, the implications of social media, cyber crime, human trafficking and money laundering.

Napolitano had been in Paris, where she discussed the importance of international partnerships. She and Attorney General Eric Holder met with the French interior minister and discussed bolstering "aviation security and information sharing to combat terrorism." She met with members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Paris and discussed cybersecurity.

"In our globalized economy, our international partnerships are critical to our nation's domestic security, and strong international engagement and cooperation is essential," Napolitano said. "DHS is committed to working closely with our allies and partners who face common threats to build a more secure and resilient nation while strengthening the commerce, travel, and communication networks that we all share."

Homeland Security has personnel in 75 nations

"DHS works closely with international partners, including foreign governments, major multilateral organizations, and global businesses, to strengthen the security of the networks of global trade and travel, upon which our nation's economy and communities rely. We are pushing our operational borders outward so that our physical borders become our last line of defense and not our first," the agency said.

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