MONROVIA, Liberia, April 9 (UPI) -- Liberia has signed a deal to become the second country participating in a U.S. Transportation Security Administration program to strengthen aviation security.
The TSA announced that the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority has agreed to participate in the Aviation Security Sustainable International Standards Team program. Under the program, Liberia will be expected to support aviation-security improvements.
Officials said a team of TSA security experts will travel to Liberia to help assess and strengthen security at the West African country's airports. The challenge to improve airport security in Liberia faces growing obstacles from transnational criminal groups. The West African region has been cited by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime as a transit hub for the criminal groups trafficking narcotics and other illicit goods.
"TSA's partnership with the Liberian Civil Aviation Authority underscores the commitment of both nations to raise the baseline of aviation security worldwide," Cindy Farkus, TSA Office of Global Strategies assistant administrator, said in a statement.
"This coalition will effectively address the self-identified aviation security needs of Liberia and build sustainable long-term security practices."
Liberia's participation in ASSIST makes it the second country in the program, following the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, which joined ASSIST in January.