Powers united against terror threat

Three days after a terrorist bomb scarred the centenary Olympics in Atlanta, the United States joined seven other world powers in agreeing on closer international co-operation to fight terrorism at a "terrorism summit" in Paris.

Ministers from what is now called the "Political Eight" - the Group of Seven industrialised countries plus Russia - pledged to fight "new terrorism with new methods", including the creation of an international directory of anti-terrorist expertise.

Among the 25 points in the document were calls for restrictions on refugees and asylum-seekers who have used their status to support terrorist activity, investigation of organisations, "including those with charitable, social or cultural goals", which might be used by terrorists as a cover and surveillance of bank accounts, money transfers and arms sales where terrorist involvement was suspected.

The document called for more research on methods to detect explosives "and other harmful substances", and for the establishment of international standards for marking explosives, so their origins may be traced. There was also a proposal for a new international convention on terrorism to cover areas not covered by previous international agreements.

Point six showed the security services are publicly entering the information age. It called on states to "note the risk of terrorists using electronic or wire communications systems and networks to carry out criminal acts ... and the need to find means

The eight countries were divided, however, on whether sanctions should be applied, or extended, to countries which are regarded as supporters of terrorism, so that subject was left off the agenda. The US has legislation in progress that would penalise third countries trading with those Washington defines as "terrorist states". These include Iraq, Libya, Iran and Sudan. The European Union and Canada are bitterly opposed to the US measures and are considering retaliation.

The omission of the "terrorist states" from the agenda represented a diplomatic defeat for the US. But it was clearly the price of gaining a united front on the issue of terrorism in general. In a sign of what the US was up against, the German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, insisted just before the meeting began that Germany would continue a "dialogue" with Iran.

Yesterday's meeting had been agreed at the annual summit of the G7 in Lyons in May, which took place in the shadow of the bombing of US troops in Saudi Arabia. Hosted by the G7 chairman, France, it was attended by foreign and interior ministers from the eight countries and by some intelligence chiefs. One remarkable aspect of the gathering was the presence of the head of the Russian security service, General Nikolai Kovalyev, sitting alongside people who would have been his sworn enemies less than a decade ago.

The weight and likely effectiveness of the document is hard to gauge. The 25 points are all couched as exhortations - "We call on all states to ... " With few exceptions, they amount to little more than an extension to eight countries of the collaboration which is already in operation bilaterally between many of them.

Altering the terms of refugee or asylum status is something that must be submitted to the United Nations. The complexities of extradition are already familiar to Britons from the difficulties of extraditing IRA suspects from Ireland or the US. The borderline between preventive monitoring of telephones and bank accounts and invasion of privacy is notoriously hard to draw.

Some measures were agreed but for reasons of state secrecy do not figure in the 25 points. The French Interior Minister, Jean-Louis Debre, and the British Home Secretary, Michael Howard, confirmed that other measures were agreed but would not disclose details.

Essay, page 12

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job:TEACHERS REQUIREDWe are...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistant ...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is urgently recruiting...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?