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Counterterrorism: G6 Symposium

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 15 October 2008

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The informal G6 group of interior Ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom met in Bonn, Germany on 26 and 27 September 2008, along with the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security. This was the third G6 plus US counterterrorism symposium meeting (previous meetings took place in Venice in May 2007 and Schwielowsee in November to December 2007). I attended on behalf of the United Kingdom.

The symposium was divided into four substantive discussion sessions:

general aspects of counterterrorism (prevention, countering radicalisation, criminal law, law on threat prevention);

remote searches of computer hard drives;

diplomatic assurances; and

right to self defence.

The discussions underlined the importance of transatlantic co-operation on counterterrorism. We reflected on developments in the field of international terrorism, continued our exchanges on the development of effective countermeasures and recognised that it was important to be able to respond effectively to new challenges. The symposium emphasised that all state responses to the threat of terrorism must fully respect the international legal framework on the protection of human rights and the rule of law.

Conclusions on the topics above were agreed and then presented at a press conference at the end of the symposium.

It was agreed that the G6 plus US CT symposium was a useful forum which should continue to meet (dates for future meetings have not been confirmed).