July 14, 2005 in Nation/World

Anti-terrorism measures get priority for EU

Constant Brand Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Britain’s Home Secretary Charles Clarke speaks during a media conference after a meeting of EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)


» UNITED NATIONS – The United States on Wednesday moved to strengthen U.N. sanctions against al Qaeda and the Taliban, circulating a draft resolution that would spell out in far greater detail those who could be punished.

» U.N. sanctions currently require all 191 U.N. member states to impose a travel ban and arms embargo against those “associated with” Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and the former Afghan rulers and to freeze their financial assets.

» The resolution dedicates almost half a page to better defining those groups and individuals who should fall under the sanctions regime. Among other things, they would include those who helped finance, plan or otherwise support al Qaeda, bin Laden, the Taliban “or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof.”

BRUSSELS, Belgium – European Union officials promised Wednesday to implement several anti-terrorism measures by year’s end, including an expansion of intelligence sharing.

In emergency talks called after the London bombings, the justice and interior ministers agreed to speed up measures to pursue and investigate terrorists across borders and to disrupt their planning and funding.

“All of us across the European Union are absolutely determined to accelerate our work to make terrorism more difficult,” said British Home Secretary Charles Clarke, chairman of the crisis talks.

Ministers were warned, however, to carry through on their word.

Progress on anti-terrorist measures proposed after last year’s Madrid bombings has been slower than EU officials would like, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said.

“The time has come to name and shame” laggards, Frattini told reporters. “Without true European cooperation, we cannot prove and show to the public and to the terrorists that we are willing and ready to move ahead very quickly.”

The ministers agreed on a priority to-do list that “focuses around a wide range of different exchanges of data information, whether on stolen explosives or communications data or on operational cooperation between different forces,” Clarke said.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said the EU had to ensure Europe was not becoming a training ground for terrorists whose goal was attacking their own countries. “We have to find out where they are being recruited and by whom,” he said. “It’s a question of surveillance.”

He suggested countries keep closer watch on what goes on in mosques, and on recently released prisoners of war from Iraq and Afghanistan who are returned to Europe.

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