'We're all in this together': US to France

25th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 24, 2006 (AFP) - US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned Tuesday that Europe and the United States must stay focused on fighting terrorism, as fresh controversy erupted over the CIA's activities in Europe.

PARIS, Jan 24, 2006 (AFP) - US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned Tuesday that Europe and the United States must stay focused on fighting terrorism, as fresh controversy erupted over the CIA's activities in Europe.

"We should not allow ourselves to be distracted from the need to identify, prevent and protect against terrorist acts of violence," he told reporters in Paris, during a two-day visit to discuss US-French anti-terrorism cooperation.

"We are all in this together, in the sense that all the countries in Western Europe are, I think, in the zone of being targeted by al-Qaeda and other sympathetic terrorist groups," he said.

Chertoff was speaking after an interim report to the Council of Europe, a rights body, said European governments must have been aware that the United States was using their territory to transport or detain terrorist suspects as part of its policy of "rendition".

He refused to comment directly on the report's allegations, reaffirming only that the United States acted in accordance with the law and with respect for the sovereignty of host countries.

Asked whether he feared that European efforts to investigate the allegations could damage US-European anti-terrorism collaboration, Chertoff replied: "I certainly hope it doesn't affect cooperation."

Chertoff also sought to play down divergences between the United States and Europe over the methods used to pursue the "war on terror".

"I think there is less of a difference than you would think," he said.

"There are obviously some historical and cultural differences in the way individual countries approach the challenge of dealing with terror -- but our fundamental values are remarkably aligned."

"All the countries I have dealt with have the same goals: security, freedom and civil rights," Chertoff told reporters.

The US official -- who described the working relationship between French and US security services as "excellent" -- met on Tuesday with members of France's DST domestic intelligence service, and with the head of the National Defence General Secretariat, Francis Delon.

On Wednesday, Chertoff was due to hold talks with Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who sponsored a tough new anti-terrorism law adopted by the French parliament last month.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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