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No Country Immune from Terrorism, says  US Attorney General - 2004-01-26

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who is in Vienna for two days of talks on terrorism and other international crime issues, says no country is immune from terrorist attacks.

Mr. Ashcroft's talks with Austrian officials are expected to focus on fighting terrorism. After his first meetings, he told reporters that terrorists can strike anywhere. But he would not comment directly on media reports that about 50 al-Qaida terrorists are operating in Austria.

"I do not know where all the links are for al-Qaida," said Mr. Ashcroft, adding only that, "I believe that terrorism is trans-national and global and that there are no immune locations." American and European officials are discussing putting armed guards on commercial trans-Atlantic flights, and Austrian Interior Minister Ernst Strasser says his country supports the controversial plan.

The talks during Mr. Ashcroft's visit also covered other issues. He praised Austrian participation in the training of Iraqi policemen in Jordan. And he thanked the Interior Minister for expelling spies in the Iraqi embassy in Vienna before the war.

The Attorney General said the United States is also working with Austria to fight drug trafficking in central Asia and the Caucasus.

Interior Minister Strasser said the United States has a valuable understanding of organized crime networks in Nigeria and Chechnya that is helpful in a variety of crime-fighting efforts, including the drug war and the fight against child pornography on the Internet.