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OSCE Holds Review Conference on Combating Terrorism - 2004-06-23


The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is making the fight against terrorism a major priority. It is encouraging cooperation among European governments, the United States, experts, and the pooling of resources. It holds a two-day conference at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna. Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, James Loy, told around 350 political and military experts that international terrorism has become the new totalitarian threat.

He said the enemy has no flag, no defined borders and can fight with an army of fewer than two-dozen people.

Admiral Loy told reporters that the OSCE, of which the United States is a member, is adopting several measures to make airports safer.

"One of them, for example, is to commit the 55 member states here to a 24 by 7 [24 hours a day, seven days a week] point-of-contact network for aviation security issues, whatever they may be, such that on the occasion of things like [those that] occurred during the last holiday period, where targeted flights of interest were of great concern to a number of us," he said. "The network would be a complete one as we engage various countries who may or may not be part of an intelligence flow at that time."

Admiral Loy said the OSCE was also working with the international police organization, Interpol, on a passport database to keep track of lost or stolen passports. He said this will help create what he called smart and more secure borders.

He said such measures should not hinder the free flow of commerce or undermine freedom of movement by people.

While the OSCE stressed the need for the use of the latest technology, terrorism experts said traditional methods and painstaking work must not be overlooked. For example, they said better border controls with checks on cargos and screening of travelers will help reduce the risk of terror attacks, such as the March bombings of trains in Spain in which 191 people died.

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