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Terrorism Prevention Should Be World-Wide Priority, Says Ashcroft - 2003-01-24

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that there must be greater global cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Mr. Ashcroft told delegates that preventing terrorist attacks must be the number one global priority.

Attorney General Ashcroft told the conference that since the September 11 attacks, the United States has adjusted its strategy in the fight against terrorism. In addition to hunting down those responsible for terrorist attacks, he said the United States is now devoting more attention to stopping attacks from taking place. He added, "We have shifted our priority from prosecution to prevention."

Mr. Ashcroft pointed out the first priority of the United States in the war on terrorism is to preserve freedom and democratic values. These values, he added, also guide America in its fight against terrorism.

"We have to be careful to tailor our response so we are productive in what we do without sacrificing our fundamental values," he said.

Another speaker, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, spoke about his country's long-standing battle against terrorism, which, he stressed, was not just Colombia's problem. He said the terrorists and drug lords will soon be moving on to neighboring countries.

"If we do not stop terrorism in Colombia, terrorism through drugs will destroy the Amazon basin," he said.

Mr. Velez pointed out that much of the Amazon jungle has already been destroyed for drug production. He argues that, in the long term, Colombia's terrorism poses a bigger threat than Iraq.