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10 March 2005

U.S., Europe Fight Terror with Freedom's Values, Law Enforcement

Attorney General Gonzales addresses terrorism conference in Madrid

The solution to the threat of terrorism “will be found in the extension of democracy and freedom” as well as in the “hard work of enforcement,” U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said March 10 in Madrid in an address to the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security.

“The fight against terrorism is, in the end, a struggle over values. It will be won as it is being won: by nations that cherish freedom and democracy coming together to defend and project these values,” Gonzales said.

He noted that March 11 is the one-year anniversary of terrorist bombings in Madrid and extended America’s condolences.

The international community is gathering in Madrid “determined to explore how we can work together to prevent future March 11ths and future September 11ths,” Gonzales said.

Since the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, law enforcement ties between the United States and Europe have strengthened in a number of areas, he said, through such tools as “unprecedented” extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, and closer U.S. cooperation with European Union institutions such as Europol and Eurojust.

“In this battle against terrorism, we are all looking for ways to seize the initiative,” the attorney general said. “And we seek to do so in a way that is consistent with the rule of law, knowing that how we fight reflects our shared respect for individual rights and liberties -- the ultimate foundations of enduring democracies.”

The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security is intended to commemorate the victims of terrorism across the world and provide a global forum to debate fresh ideas and alternative visions on how to fight terrorism within a democratic framework. The summit was organized by the Club of Madrid, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world. Its members include nearly 50 former heads of state.

Following are Gonzales’ statement as prepared:

(begin text)

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES ALBERTO R. GONZALES

REMARKS AT THE INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT ON DEMOCRACY, TERRORISM, AND SECURITY

Madrid, Spain
March 10, 2005

Mr. President, distinguished guests, and colleagues.

It is a great honor to be here with you on this solemn occasion. On behalf of President Bush and the American people, Mr. Minister, allow me to express once more our deepest sympathy for the victims of March 11th and their families.

We gather now one year later, determined to explore how we can work together to prevent future March 11ths and future September 11ths. We know, of course, that the struggle against terrorism has been, and will be, a long one.

There will be disappointments as well as victories, days of despair and days of triumph. We will be sustained by our knowledge that this struggle is a noble one. We will work with the quiet confidence that our efforts not only protect our peoples, but also advance the cause of freedom for the world.

At gatherings such as this one, leaders from around the world are given the opportunity to help light our way forward. The questions at issue could not be more important: How can our multilateral system best address the terrorist threat? How can we promote religious tolerance instead of religious terrorism? How do we move from self-destruction to self-government, from violence to voting?

These questions do not have easy answers, but democratic debate is a strength in our cause: the cause of freedom. It is no accident that this summit is being held under the patronage of His Majesty, the King of Spain, who has personally done so much to advance the cause of democracy, both in Spain and around the world.

We gather today at a free and democratic institution in a free and democratic nation because the answer to terrorism will be found in the extension of democracy and freedom. To be sure, we cannot neglect the hard work of law enforcement; the daily efforts of law and order have already done so much to cripple the terrorist threat. To that end, the United States has sought to work ever more closely with our allies in Europe and elsewhere, and to strengthen our law enforcement ties with the European Union in particular.

In this battle against terrorism, we are all looking for ways to seize the initiative. And we seek to do so in a way that is consistent with the rule of law, knowing that how we fight reflects our shared respect for individual rights and liberties -- the ultimate foundations of enduring democracies.

As President Bush said this week in his statement honoring the lives lost in the March 11th attacks: "We share a common faith in values of freedom and the sanctity of life. We will continue to fight terror and advance freedom so that the world will be more peaceful."

Europe and the United States have never worked more closely in law enforcement than we have since September 11, 2001. We have negotiated unprecedented extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties; we have agreed to work together through Europol and Eurojust and together to work more closely with Interpol and the Council of Europe; and we have engaged in sustained bilateral cooperation with all the [EU] Member States.

But just as we cannot lose sight of the daily struggle, we cannot lose sight of the ultimate goal. The fight against terrorism is, in the end, a struggle over values. It will be won as it is being won: by nations that cherish freedom and democracy coming together to defend and project these values. Let me recall, in closing, the eloquent words of EU Commission President Prodi following the September 11th attacks: "We shall not allow terrorism to triumph. We shall not allow terrorism to divide the world, as its perpetrators intend it to. We shall deny them this victory."

Those words were no less true following the attacks of March 11th. Freedom, not terror, will triumph. We will not be divided. And we, not they, will know victory.

It is an honor to be here with you today. My condolences Mr. Minister, once again, for your nation's loss. Thank you for your cooperation, your partnership, and your friendship in this noble struggle.

(end text)