Ministers call for tough EU-wide luggage checks

16th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 August 2006, LONDON - Three main European Union interior ministers called Wednesday for a ban on fluids in aircraft carry-on luggage to apply throughout the 25-nation union after last week's London terrorism scare. British Home Secretary John Reid, flanked by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, said, "We want equal security for all our countries." As of Wednesday, Britain was limiting hand baggage to one small bag with a ban on cosmetics and liquids.

16 August 2006

LONDON - Three main European Union interior ministers called Wednesday for a ban on fluids in aircraft carry-on luggage to apply throughout the 25-nation union after last week's London terrorism scare.

British Home Secretary John Reid, flanked by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, said, "We want equal security for all our countries."

As of Wednesday, Britain was limiting hand baggage to one small bag with a ban on cosmetics and liquids. There have been fears since last week that liquid bomb-making chemicals could be smuggled onto planes and combined in the air for use by suicide bombers.

Reid said that while he regretted the delays while bags are searched and the possible loss of valuables, the alternative could be loss of life.

"It's not possible to fight terrorism without inconvenience," he said. "It's deeply regretful if someone loses their baggage. It's far more regretful if they lose their life."

Schaeuble said, "The terrorists have discovered dangerous new methods." He said security officials had to ban fluids because the danger they posed could no longer be safely ruled out.

Some 24 persons are still in custody and being questioned by British police over what is believed to have been a plot to blow up jetliners with bombs made from ingredients in hand luggage.

Websites that "incite" acts of terrorism or publish bomb- making instructions could be blocked under proposals being considered by the ministers, according to EU Commission vice president Franco Frattini at the meeting in London.

The talks were also attended by officials from Finland, Portugal and Slovenia.

Frattini said authorities were looking into faster checking of passenger "biometric data" such as fingerprints before flights, but he and Reid stressed that there were no plans for profiling based on passengers' ethnic origins.

DPA

Subject: German news

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