Russia, EU and U.S.A. meet for security negotiations

Stressing that global security could only be achieved through international cooperation, the senior officials of the European Union, Russia and the United States met Thursday to lay the foundations for joint efforts against terrorism, organized crime and other common threats.

The meeting, at Vienna's Hofburg Palace, brought together U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini, Russian presidential aide Victor Petrovich Ivanov and Austrian Interior Minister Liese Prokop, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Representatives of countries that will hold the EU presidency in the near future were also present, including Finland, Germany, Slovenia and Portugal.

The aim of the informal talks was to prepare for further meetings and open up the possibility of formal three-way cooperation on matters related to justice and home affairs. An official meeting on a political level is planned for early 2007.

"Today we had a very frank, a very good discussion. ... We all share the responsibility to protect our citizens from international terrorism and organized crime," Gonzales told reporters in a joint news conference after the meeting.

"This is the first such meeting of the EU, the Russian Federation and the United States to discuss as friends issues of common concern in the area of justice and home affairs," he added.

Russia's Ivanov dubbed the initiative the "Vienna Initiative".

The fight against terrorism and organized crime and corruption topped the list of specific areas where enhanced cooperation was possible, an official communique said. Illegal immigration, the security of personal documents such as passports, and border control, were also on the agenda.

The participants also spoke about money laundering, border security, document security, and trafficking of drugs and people, Gonzales said.

Ivanov said it was necessary to work out a "universal method" to prevent terrorist attacks, adding that intensifying cooperation to fight new crimes such as so-called cyber crime was the "logical solution."

Frattini highlighted the importance of an improved exchange of data and joint efforts to counter the financing of terrorists. He also said it was of "paramount importance" to work together to eradicate child pornography and crack down on pedophiles, the AP reports.

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