US, Berlin to swap anti-terrordata; offer easier visas

17th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

17 September 2004 , BERLIN - The United States and Germany are to speed up swaps of data used for the fight against terrorism, Interior Minister Otto Schily and visiting Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge agreed Friday in Berlin. Ridge offered assurances that the United States would ease the obstacles to the issue of business and student visas, which have proved a major irritant to Germans in recent months. He said the restrictions, introduced after the 11 September 2001 attacks, would be reduced in the int

17 September 2004

BERLIN - The United States and Germany are to speed up swaps of data used for the fight against terrorism, Interior Minister Otto Schily and visiting Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge agreed Friday in Berlin.

Ridge offered assurances that the United States would ease the obstacles to the issue of business and student visas, which have proved a major irritant to Germans in recent months.

He said the restrictions, introduced after the 11 September 2001 attacks, would be reduced in the interests of German-US business relations. The two nations will also set up a study group to review use of biometric data such as fingerprints in passports.

Anti-terrorist work topped the agenda for the two security chiefs, who agreed data should move faster and police agencies should exchange the profiling information they gather to point to potential terrorists.

The Germans have been annoyed that the Americans blocked access to suspected al-Qaeda captives whose testimony could have been vital to the conviction of two Arab students accused in Hamburg of terrorism.

One, Abdul-Ghazi Mzoudi, was acquitted and the other, Mounir al- Motassadeq, is being re-tried, largely because judges said not even interview notes from the main witness in US custody had been available.

Schily said he hoped those obstacles could be cleared away.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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