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by RAY FLEMING
DURING his final speech at the Gleneagles G8 summit on Friday, Tony Blair pointed out that each of the countries represented at the meeting had its own experience of terrorism. Spain was not present at the G8 gathering but it too has been battling terrorism for the past 30 years, initially from Basque separatists and then, most dramatically, from the Madrid bombings of last year. In the Financial Times yesterday the Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, wrote eloquently about his country's “lengthy and painful experience of combating this scourge”. He also contributed his thoughts on how the continuing threat from terrorism can be contained and eliminated. Since his ideas are rather far removed from the approach taken thus far by Britain and the United States they are of special interest. Sr Zapatero starts from the premise that “It is unrealistic to aspire to peace and stability in a sea of universal injustice” and continues: “The appropriate forum to consolidate the political consensus against terrorism has to be the United Nations. The organisation must be given the means, including a legal framework and the operational tools, to lead the international fight aganst terrorism, enabling it to be waged more effectively.” He calls for the adoption of a global covention against terrorism and, on the operational level, a reinforcement of mechanisms for co-operation among police forces, courts and intelligence serices. He also sees an enhanced role for the European Union, arguing that “It must become without delay a single security area, leaving no loopholes for terrorists. We must do away with the ring-fenced judicial and policing systems that criminals continue to exploit for the own ends.” The so-called War of Terror has now been waged for almost four years with disappointingly few results In only a year more, the Second World War was engaged and won. Perhaps a new approach is needed. Sr Zapatero's ideas provide a valuable starting point for consideration of a change of course.