Portugal and the U.S. Sign an Agreement to Fight against Terrorism

By Dialogo
July 01, 2009

Lisbon, June 30 (EFE).- Today Portugal and the United States signed an
agreement to collaborate against terrorism and organized crime, during a visit to
the Portuguese capital by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.

“This agreement protects matters that are very critical for society, like
security, but does so while respecting citizens’ rights and protecting their
privacy,” the U.S. cabinet secretary, who is on a trip to several European
countries, emphasized.

In a press conference after the signing of the document, Napolitano affirmed
that the agreement is an “advance in U.S.-Portuguese bilateral relations for
combating organized crime and confronting global threats.”

In addition, due to the new legal framework, investigators “will be able to
share information across borders” in order to fight against crime, she added.

The agreement for preventing and combating terrorism and organized crime was
signed after a meeting between the U.S. cabinet secretary and the Portuguese
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Amado; Minister of Justice, Alberto Costa; and
Minister of Internal Administration, Rui Pereira.

The Portuguese Justice Minister emphasized the “excellent relations between
Portugal and the United States” and declared that this “new agreement” unites them
“more closely in working together in the fight against cross-border organized

In this way, “the two countries will be more prepared to confront terrorism,”
he added.

Although the agenda released by the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
had indicated that today’s meeting would include discussion of cooperation on
closing the prison at Guantánamo, Napolitano affirmed that the issue had not been
specifically discussed.

The possibility that Portugal will accept detainees from the American base in
Cuba has been the subject of anticipation in Portugal since the American special
envoy for the closure of the prison, Daniel Fried, visited Lisbon two weeks ago, and
the Portuguese government announced that it could accept “two or three” prisoners.

A team of lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and
the British NGO Reprieve, representing more than 40 of the 229 Guantánamo detainees,
also visited Portugal this week and said that there were eight prisoners who wanted
to start a new life in Portugal.

The lawyers affirmed that these detainees wanted to come to Portugal because
it was the first European country to offer asylum to help the United States close
the prison.