Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: His Excellency Javier Ruperez
Ambassador of Spain to the United States -

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- ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO THE US COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE –THE HELSINKI COMMISSION-, ITS CHAIRMAN, SEN. BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL, AND ITS CO-CHAIRMAN, REP. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH.

- PRAISE OF ITS WORTHY ENDEAVOR TO PROMOTE KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE OSCE IN WASHINGTON’S CONGRESSIONAL CIRCLES.

- I REFER TODAY TO THE CRITICAL ROLE THE EU PLAYS IN EFFORTS TO COMBAT TERRORISM IN THE OSCE REGION AND WORLDWIDE.

- EU STANDS FIRMLY WITH THE US PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT IN THE COMMON STRUGGLE AGAINST TERRORISM. IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL SOLIDARITY: EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISIONS IN SEPTEMBER (GHENT) AND DECEMBER 2001 (LAEKEN); ARTICLE 5 OF NATO CHARTER.



- TERRORISM IS A THREAT TO BOTH EUROPE AND THE US AND THE REST OF FREEDOM AND PEACE-LOVING NATIONS. A COMMON RESPONSE IS VITAL FOR THE SURVIVAL OF DEMOCRACY, OF FREE AND OPEN SOCIETIES AND THE RULE OF LAW.

- THE MAY 2 TRANSATLANTIC SUMMIT HAS HIGHLIGHTED PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN BILATERAL COOPERATION AND THE NEED TO REMAIN FOCUSED ON THE TASK OF CONFRONTING THIS GLOBAL CHALLENGE. PRESIDENT BUSH AND PRIME MINISTER AZNAR APTLY PUT IT WHEN THEY REFER TO A “TIME FOR HOPE FOR THE US AND FOR EUROPE: A TIME WHEN OUR COOPERATION COULD LEAD TO A SAFER AND TO A BETTER WORLD”.

- SPAIN AT THE FOREFRONT OF PROMOTING INCREASED COOPERATION WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION ON THE ONE HAND AND WITH OTHER PARTNERS (US, RUSSIA, MEDITERRANEAN AND CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES) ON THE OTHER. COOPERATION IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM IS KEY BENCHMARK IN EU TIES WITH OTHER NATIONS (STABILIZATION AND ASSOCIATION AGREEMENTS WITH SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPEAN STATES, ASSOCIATION AGREEMENTS WITH MEDITERRANEAN AND CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES).

- THE SEPTEMBER 21, 2001 EUROPEAN COUNCIL APPROVED AN ACTION PLAN ON FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM THAT THE EU HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTING SINCE. WITH THE U.S. THIS INCLUDES IMPROVING LAW ENFORCEMENT AND JUDICIAL COOPERATION, STEPPED UP EFFORTS ON TERRORIST FINANCING, BORDER CONTROL, VISA MANAGEMENT, FORGED TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND AIR TRANSPORT SECURITY, TO NAME A FEW.

- FOLLOWING EXCHANGES IN THE LAST QUARTER 2001, A COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN EUROPOL AND THE COMPETENT U.S. AGENCIES WAS REACHED LAST DECEMBER. SINCE IT DOES NOT COVER EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL DATA, PARTIES ARE CURRENTLY NEGOTIATING WITH THE AIM OF FINALIZING AN AGREEMENT WHICH WOULD INCLUDE ALL ASPECTS OF DATA PROTECTION.

- IN FEBRUARY 2002, EU MEMBER STATES AGREED TO A COMMON DEFINITION OF TERRORISM AND PASSED A UNIFORM, EU-WIDE SEARCH AND ARREST WARRANT: TWO MAJOR STEPS FORWARD.

- VALUE-ADDED COOPERATION WITH THE US IN LAW ENFORCEMENT (THROUGH EUROPOL) AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE (THROUGH EUROJUST). VARIOUS ARRESTS IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, AMONG THEM SPAIN, OVER LAST SEVERAL MONTHS AS A RESULT OF INTENSE CONCERTED EFFORTS. EUROPOL AND THE FBI HAVE EXCHANGED LIAISON OFFICERS IN THE HAGUE AND WASHINGTON DC.

- A MANDATE TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S. TREATIES ON EXTRADITION AND MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE -WHICH WILL BROADEN DRAMATICALLY SCOPE OF EU-U.S. COOPERATION- WAS ADOPTED APRIL 25 BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: AN ACHIEVEMENT OF WHICH SPAIN IS PARTICULARLY PROUD. SPAIN HOPES NEGOTIATIONS WILL PROCEED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

- EU AND U.S. IN CLOSE COOPERATION TO PREVENT FINANCING OF TERRORIST GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS, AS MANDATED BY RELEVANT UNSC RESOLUTIONS: SIMULTANEOUS ANNOUNCEMENT OF LISTS WHOSE CONTENTS GRADUALLY CONVERGE THROUGH INTENSE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION: THIS IS AN EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS.

- EU WORKS THROUGH A TECHNICALLY COMPLEX, TIME-CONSUMING CLEARINGHOUSE PROCESS –UNANIMITY AMONG 15 MEMBER STATES REQUIRED-. EUROPEAN LIST HAS BEEN ENLARGED LAST WEEK. SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS REPORTED SINCE FIRST EFFORT IN DECEMBER 2001. WE REMAIN COMMITTED.

- LET ME FINISH WITH A WORD ON OSCE PROPER, A TOPIC SO WELL COVERED BEFORE BY MINISTER MARTINS DA CRUZ. THE SPANISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU FOLLOWS WITH GREAT INTEREST EFFORTS UNDERTAKEN BY THE PORTUGUESE PRESIDENCY OF THE OSCE TO STRENGTHEN THE LATTER`S ROLE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM.

- WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE JUNE 12 MEETING OF SENIOR OFFICIALS OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN LISBON AS A SIGNIFICANT OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE THE COMMON EFFORT AGAINST TERRORISM.