EU ministers meet amid new terror alert
BRUSSELS: EU foreign and defence ministers gathered on Monday with the fight against terrorism top of the agenda following a string of suicide bomb attacks in Israel and Morocco.
On Sunday interior ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain agreed to set up a permanent panel of experts on terrorism during talks held in the shadow of the bombings in Casablanca. At Monday’s talks in Brussels, the foreign and defence ministers were to discuss setting up a European Union database listing each member state’s civil protection capabilities in the event of a terrorist attack. The discussions are all the more pressing after the Casablanca attacks on Friday, which left 41 people dead and raised fears of a resurgence in international terrorism. Then on Sunday, a double suicide attack in Jerusalem killed seven people plus the bombers. EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana “unreservedly” condemned the Jerusalem carnage but said the violence must not deflect international moves to bring peace to the Middle East. The attacks prompted Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to put off a crucial trip to Washington, where he had been due to discuss a “roadmap” to Middle East peace backed by a diplomatic “quartet” including the EU.—AFP