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Swiss and US in anti-terrorism talks

The Swiss delegation visited Ground Zero during its visit to New York

(Keystone)

Swiss police and justice officials have met their US counterparts to draw up plans for increased cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

A delegation headed by Jean-Luc Vez, the director of federal police, held two days of meetings in Washington with the FBI, the CIA and the presidential secret service. The group also met Jim Gurulé, the undersecretary for the US Department of Finance.

Vez told swissinfo the talks centred on boosting cooperation during criminal investigations, particularly in the fight against financial crime and terrorism.

He added that Switzerland and the United States are currently drawing up a new judicial agreement aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.

The accord, which is expected to be signed before the end of the year, would lead to exchanges of both information and security personnel during investigations.

"The Americans consider Switzerland as one of their main partners in the handling of the crisis following September 11," said Vez. "They have been impressed by the new security measures and the action taken in Switzerland to combat the financing of terrorism."

During the course of their investigations into the al-Qaeda network, Swiss authorities have blocked bank accounts containing $61 million (SFr95.5 million).

Police database

The Swiss delegation also used the visit to examine US police databases. The federal government in Switzerland is currently working with cantonal police forces to build a national system.

Vez said the challenge for Switzerland was to build a criminal database that suited the country's special needs and legal system. "The US collects an enormous amount of data that we would not be allowed to use in Switzerland," he said.

The delegation, which includes the heads of Switzerland's federal criminal police and its analysis and prevention service, is now in Ottawa, holding talks with Canadian counterparts.

swissinfo with agencies


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