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Paris calls for EU foreign ministers summit

Published on 15/03/2004

PARIS, March 15 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on Monday called for an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers to coordinate the bloc's response following last week's deadly attacks in Madrid.

He also proposed a snap meeting of foreign ministers from the 15 member states on the United Nations Security Council.

“There are initiatives that have been taken so that the interior ministers can meet and coordinate their efforts. The same initiatives should be taken on the foreign ministers level,” de Villepin told private radio RTL.

On Sunday, German Interior Minister Otto Schily said a meeting of EU interior ministers, security and police chiefs was necessary to draft a “common assessment” amid increasing indications that Thursday’s attacks in Madrid were the work of Islamic extremists.

The Irish presidency of the European Union said Sunday it was considering a number of initiatives following the deadly Madrid rail bombings, including a meeting of EU interior ministers as proposed by Berlin.

“Let’s create the same momentum that we had after September 11th, in particular at the UN Security Council,” de Villepin said.

“Why not organize an emergency meeting of all of the ministers from the Security Council (member states) to review and coordinate?”

The French foreign minister told RTL that such meetings would be aimed not only at coordinating security measures to be taken in the wake of the Madrid bombings, but also to find ways to attack sources of global instability.

“We cannot fail to see that there are now two centers that feed instability and terrorism in the world: the first is of course the crisis in the Middle East, and the second is Iraq,” he said.

Thursday’s attacks targetting commuter trains in Madrid killed 200 people and wounded 1,500 others.

The investigation into the blasts has increasingly turned toward blaming Al-Qaeda after a video was found Saturday in which a man speaking Arabic claimed the attacks in the name of the Islamic extremist network.


                                                              Subject: France news