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22 September, 2001
European Union heads of state and government unequivocally condemned the September 11 terrorist attack in the U.S. during the first round of talks at a special summit here on Friday night.
They also expressed their political will to show absolute solidarity to the U.S.
In statements to reporters at the end of the first round of talks, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the decision taken by the summit on Friday constitutes a good basis for confronting terrorist provocations.
He said the struggle against terrorism is a primary target for the EU, adding that according to the decision by the UN's Security Council, the U.S. is entitled to react but noted that this struggle is not directed against the Arab and Moslem world.
Simitis stressed the need for cooperation between the EU and the U.S. in handling provocations by terrorists. However, he noted the need for whatever decisions to be legalized by the UN's Security Council.
He also said every country should participate in actions to combat terrorism, in accordance with its capabilities, and added that the region of military operations is very far from Europe and what is most important is political alignment between all countries as well as their cooperation against terrorism. Simitis also made special mention of the need for Russia, Middle East countries and other nations to participate in the struggle.
He said decisions taken by the EU on Friday are divided into two chapters. The first concerns the general principles of the EU's policy against terrorism. He also referred in particular to decisions taken on Thursday by the EU's Council of Internal Affairs and Justice Ministers concerning the need for intensifying legislative police and judicial cooperation both between EU member-states and the U.S.
Simitis further said the summit entrusted the Council of Justice Ministers with processing, among others, a list of terrorist organizations which operate and function in Europe.
He also focused on the EU's political will to go ahead with the mutual recognition of judicial rulings and the enactment of the European arrest warrant in particular, adding that the EU will take all necessary measures to protect human rights.
Simitis said tackling terrorism is not connected with the restriction of human rights, which, in Greece in particular, are protected by the constitution that the Greek government will strictly implement.
He further mentioned that the EU leaders also discussed the need to expand security for airline flights.
The second chapter of decisions taken by the summit concerns the economy. Simitis said the terrorist attack would have negative repercussions. However, he added that these repercussions can be handled and this is due to stability created for the European economy by economic and monetary union.
PM: Broad alliance on world level needed to combat terrorism:
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said late Friday night that the aim of the European Union's special summit was to make clear the political framework and to clarify the policy of the EU-member states in the battle against terrorism.
Speaking to journalists after the dinner, Simitis underlined that the EU condemns terrorism and each country will contribute in efforts for its confrontation according to its capabilities.
The prime minister expressed the need for achieving a broader framework of alliances on a world level to confront terrorism, underlining the particular role that the United Nations is called upon to play. He said that this cooperation is necessary given that even if the United States decides to give a military answer by itself, it will need to cooperate with many countries that will either allow the transit of planes over their air space or help with the bases that they have.
Referring to the talks the EU leaders had over dinner, he said they focused mainly on the Middle East and the Palestinian issue. Simitis said that it was necessary for messages to be conveyed to the Arab world as well, underlining that the EU wants peace and cooperation in the Middle East.
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on his part also underlined the role the EU should play in efforts for the achievement of peace in the Middle East.
Source: Athens News Agency