Chirac, Schroeder urge fightagainst roots of terrorism
16 March 2004
PARIS – French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called for increased international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and a stronger effort to fight the roots of terrorism, such as underdevelopment and poverty.
“The international community must get together to fight against terrorism with all its force and without respite,” Chirac said after informal talks with Schroeder in Paris, the first meeting of the two leaders since last week’s terrorist attacks in Madrid, which killed 201 people and injured more than 1,400.
“But let us be clear,” the French president added. “We must also get together to put an end to the conflicts which feed the anger and frustration of people, to fight against misery, humiliation and injustice, which are the soil of violence.”
Schroeder agreed, saying, “We must strengthen European and transatlantic cooperation in the area of police and security services.”
He noted, however, “The fight against terrorism cannot be won by power alone. We must also fight the roots of terrorism, such as underdevelopment in the Third World.”
The meeting between Chirac and Schroeder was part of a series of bilateral consultations agreed in 2001. The two men also discussed the importance of reaching a swift agreement on a European constitution.
The chances of coming to an agreement on the constitution were given a boost by the defeat of the centre-right Popular Party in Sunday’s Spanish Parliamentary elections.
Outgoing Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar had rejected the current draft of the constitution because of provisions on the voting rights it accorded to individual countries.
Aznar’s successor, Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has indicated that he would be more prepared to compromise on the issue.
Earlier on Tuesday, the man tipped to become the new Spanish foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, said that Spain would not block agreement on the EU constitution because of the voting rights issue.
Without commenting on the change of leadership in Madrid, Schroeder said that there was now a chance that agreement on the constitution could be reached “during the Irish (EU) presidency”, which ends on 1 July.
However, the German chancellor noted that final agreement depended on “the flexibility of one or two countries”, a reference to the other nation that had blocked agreement, future EU member Poland.
Also attending the talks were French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer.
Subject: German News