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Foreign security agencies aid Rio 2016 preps

A site being built for Rio 2016 Olympics. PHOTO/File

A site being built for Rio 2016 Olympics. PHOTO/File

RIO-DE-JANEIRO, November 26- Foreign security agencies including in the United States and France are working closely with Brazil ahead of next year’s Rio Olympics, the Latin American country’s lead security official for the games said Wednesday.

Brazil will host the continent’s first Olympic Games starting August 5 and concerns over security have risen in the wake of brutal Islamist attacks in Paris this month, one of them targeting France’s main sports stadium.

“No one can be indifferent to barbaric events such as in Paris,” Andrei Augusto Passos Rodrigues, Brazil’s security coordinator for major events, told a gathering of security representatives from 78 countries in Rio.

“Concerning terrorism, we are working hard with international cooperation to intensify and create mechanisms that will assist prevention,” Rodrigues said.

Among case studies receiving close attention are the marathons in Berlin and Boston, which saw a bloody bomb attack in 2013, the 2015 Pan-American Games held in Ottawa, and the annual sessions of the UN General Assembly when world leaders converge on New York.

With the Paris attacks the main focus now, Rodrigues said Brazil’s military attache in Paris and Brazilian police were consulting with their French colleagues.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday during a visit to Brazil that France would offer the help of its intelligence services for the Olympics.

“We have a range of bilateral meetings in the United States and we are in contact with the secret services of other organizations. We are doing everything we can to confront terrorism,” Rodrigues said.

“We now also have an integrated anti-terrorism center (CIANT) where Brazilian and foreign police can work to stop these kinds of threats,” he said.

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The international focus, however, is not a sign that Brazil needs extra help, he stressed. “We will not change our strategic plan,” he said. “We are preparing for the biggest event in the world and this plan already included international cooperation with foreign police.”

Rodrigues said that a lifting of visa requirements for tourists from some countries will not have any negative impact on security.

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