Rice pledges to cooperate with EU prison probe

30th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

30 November 2005, WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed reports of secret CIA prisons for terrorism suspects with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Tuesday and pledged to respond to an E.U. inquiry into the issue.

30 November 2005

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed reports of secret CIA prisons for terrorism suspects with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Tuesday and pledged to respond to an E.U. inquiry into the issue.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said European concerns about the prisons was among the topics discussed by the two diplomats but that it "was certainly not the topic that dominated their conversation".

"The United States realizes that these are topics that are generating interest among European publics as well as parliaments and that these questions need to be responded to," McCormack said.

Rice emphasized that the United States was complying with U.S. and international law in holding of terrorist suspects, he added.

The United States has not confirmed a report in the Washington Post this month that the CIA had clandestine prisons in some European countries for holding terrorist suspects. There have been subsequent reports that the United States flew suspects over European territory.

The United States has not confirmed or denied the reports.

The U.S. government expects a formal letter from the European Union asking about the reports of alleged CIA activities and "we are prepared to respond to that letter", McCormack said.

Steinmeier said Rice expressed understanding for European concerns about the alleged covert prisons and secret flights, but stressed that Washington is conducting the war on terrorism in a law-abiding way.

Rice also offered U.S. support in trying to find Susanne Osthoff, a German archaeologist abducted in Iraq, Steinmeier said.

The two discussed European-led negotiations with the Iranians aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, German assistance in Afghanistan and relations between the two countries.

The meeting was the first between the two since Steinmeier assumed his role under new German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Rice will travel to Germany on Monday for talks with Merkel and will also visit Romania, Ukraine and Belgium.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Steinmeier confirmed that Rice told him the United States would cooperate with the inquiry.

"I am happy that frank words were used," Steinmeier told German reporters.

DPA

Subject: German news

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