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Interventi - Altri ministri e sottosegretari precedenti

12.12.2003

MEETING WITH CHAIRMAN COX



MINISTER PISANU'S STATEMENT

MEETING WITH CHAIRMAN COX CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY

The long-standing Italian-American co-operation in law enforcement has always been intense and it has been further enhanced in counter-terrorism after the September-11 terrorist attacks.

Our bilateral relations have always been characterised by frequent and in-depth meetings at the highest institutional level. As Minister of the Interior, I met once in Rome with Attorney General John Ashcroft on 21st January, 2002, and with the new Secretary for Homeland Security Tom Ridge in Cernobbio on 6th September, 2003. Furthermore, I have established a continued, friendly and constructive relation with Ambassador Sembler.

In the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers, the Italian Parliament , upon the proposal of Berlusconi's Cabinet, passed a series of legislative measures against international terrorism which have proved to be a particularly effective tool for the Italian law enforcement counter-action. In fact, the results achieved are absolutely remarkable.

This year we have so far arrested 71 persons suspected of belonging or to be connected to international terrorist organisations. In this regard, I'd like to mention the latest operation conducted in Milan and Hamburg concerning a cell suspected to be linked to extremely dangerous terrorist groups.

We have also deported from the Italian territory 7 Islamic fundamentalists together with a self-defined imam for serious reasons of breach of public order and risk for domestic security.

Finally, I would like to mention that today, in Italy, more than 8,000 potential targets are protected by over 12,000 police and Carabinieri agents and by 4,000 troops.

We are fully aware that many are the risks we are faced with, but facts show that we are up to this very difficult and long-lasting challenge.

If we are to win, though, we need to enhance co-operation with the other European Countries and to boost, as much as we can, Euro-Atlantic co-operation.

Today's meeting with Chairman Cox and with the distinguished delegation of the U.S. Congress represents a valid and significant contribution to this collaboration.