In Mirida, Mexico, the signing ceremony for the first international anti-corruption treaty is underway. The UN General Assembly adopted the treaty in late October. Its goal is to ?strengthen international cooperation against corruption ? and make it harder to hide stolen assets.?

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, ?"It warns the corrupt that betrayal of the public trust will no longer be tolerated. And it reaffirms the importance of core values, such as honesty, respect for the rule of law, accountability and transparency, in promoting development and making the world a better place for all."

Officials began signing the document Monday. More than 100 countries are expected to become signatories by the time the signing ceremony ends tomorrow. Thirty countries must ratify the treaty for it to take effect. That?s expected to take about two years.

Among those attending the ceremony is a delegation from the group Transparency International. Lisa Prevenslik-Takeda is with the group. From Mirida, Mexico, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua by cell phone about the importance of the anti-corruption treaty. She says, ?It?s very important because it sets international standards in the fight against corruption, in preventing corruption, in criminalizing corruption, in setting up standards for international cooperation.?

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