Today, the United States urges its European allies to send additional troops to fight against the Afghan Taliban combatants. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeyer warns individual countries against a hasty decision to abandon the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. According to the Minister, the “Enduring Freedom” Operation against irreconcilable Islamic extremists should be continued next year and successfully fulfilled. At the debates in the Bundestag on extension of the Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan Steinmeyer spoke for stepping-up of efforts in training the Afghan servicemen and policemen.
Joint actions against the international terror are elaborated within the framework of relations between NATO and EU, between NATO, EU and Russia, between the USA and EU, Russia and other countries and structures of the international community.
In November, the EC offered a package of draft laws that legalize collection and storage of details of air passengers arriving to Europe from third countries and departing to other countries of the world. The details will be stored for 13 years. A special draft law bans hosting of those Web sites in the EU countries that contain instructions how to make bombs and propaganda inciting the terror. Another draft law stipulates measures of more severe control over the storage and use of explosives in the EU countries.
German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries spoke for more severe measures for combating the terrorism and extremism. The amendments proposed by the Ministry of Justice contain, in particular, a clause on 10-year imprisonment of persons trained in the camps of the terrorist and extremist groups. According to the German Ministry of Interior, today about 40 persons trained in the Islamic camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan reside in Germany.
The alarm situation relating to the threat of terrorism still exists in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement that Al-Qaida is preparing a series of attacks in large shopping centers of Los-Angeles and Chicago. The statement says that these attacks “are aimed at undermining the US economy”, they have been prepared for the last two years and should be performed on Christmas Holydays of 2007.
Besides the threat of terror, the European Region this time witnesses increase in activity of separatist movements. For instance, the Flemish nationalist parties became more active in Belgium. Mass rallies of supported of the Flemish national republic were conducted in Brussels. At the same time, more than 60 thousand Belgians signed a petition against disintegration of the united Belgium state.
Scotland more and more insistently demonstrates it desire to separate from the United Kingdom (the Act of Union with England was signed 300 years ago). As quoted to First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond who leads the Scottish National Party, an independence referendum may be held in Scotland. A. Salmond says that the Scottish want their parliament to have “more power and weight”. In so doing, A. Salmond and his supporters believe that Scotland has three options – to leave it as it is; to expand powers of the Scottish Parliament; and to declare independence of Scotland. The policy of the National Party towards independence is supported by the local “Green Party”.
In view of expected terrorist attacks of the Basque separatist group “ETA” , on October 6, the police and gendarme forces of Spain were set to a higher alert status. According to Spanish mass media, several police officers may be assassinated in revenge for detention of Basque “Unity” leaders. In this connection, all offices of the police and gendarme forces were instructed to comply with the higher requirements of personal security. The higher security measures were taken also at the building of police stations, headquarters and carracks of gendarmes.
In this October the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) discussed a problem of glorifying Nazi fighters in Estonia. Such PACE discussion was evoked by the traditional meeting of veterans of the Estonian SS Division and members of so called “Union of Fighters for Liberation of Estonia” devoted to the anniversary of combats neat the Sininyaye Heights.
Combating the terrorism, extremism and separatism remains the most important area of Russia’s joint activities with the international community.