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17 European States Sign Convention on Joint Measures Against Terrorism

Seventeen of the 19 member-states of the Council of Europe signed in Strasburg today the European convention on joint measures against terrorism. Only Ireland, because of its own involvement in northern Ireland, and Malta, because of its pro-Arab line, refused to sign the convention which describes as “common law crimes” practically all terrorist attacks.

The French delegate, Pierre Christian Taittinger, signed the convention but said France will ratify it only after the nine European Economic Community member states conclude their own joint work on this subject. Today’s ratification was within the framework of the Council of Europe, a European parliamentary assembly with consultative voice. The Council also decided to ask the governments of member states to ratify it at the earliest so as to enable it to begin functioning within the next few months.

In an interview with the French Jewish weekly, “Tribune Juive,” published today, French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing explained that the convention makes extradition for terrorism mandatory. He said that theoretically this would bind France to extradite to a potential dictatorship people accused of terrorist attacks.

This is the first time in French history that a French President has granted an interview to a Jewish publication. Observers here believe Giscard is trying to placate the Jewish community after the long rift between the Gaullist governments and Israel. In his interview, Giscard reiterated his determination to uphold Israel’s right to secure, guaranteed and recognized borders.

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