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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 02:52 GMT
Europe 'lags behind' US on terror
Wreckage of the World Trade Centre
De Hoop Scheffer: Europe should catch up in the fight against terrorism
Europe has not caught up with the US in its response to global terrorism, Nato's secretary general has warned.

Europeans had to go as far as Americans in merging external and internal security, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in New York.

A "perception gap" had opened up since the 11 September 2001 attacks, he said.

This difference between the US and its European allies was one reason for the strained relations within Nato, the alliance chief added.

'Catch up'

Mr de Hoop Scheffer told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that "in Europe, we still have complicated discussions... of how far governments could go in the relationship with their citizens in the fight against terrorism."

"I think Europe should catch up here, not the United States, " he added.

Mr de Hoop Scheffer is a former Dutch foreign minister who backed the Bush administration on the war in Iraq without alienating other European leaders.

Asked about Iraq, he said: "When the Iraqi government asks Nato to do more, we'll seriously consider when and if that's possible."

He said he hoped that an alliance training academy for Iraqi forces would be running by the end of the year. Nato is also training Iraqis outside the country.

The alliance has been in charge of the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan since late last year, in its first so-called out-of-area mission.

On Afghanistan, Mr de Hoop Scheffer repeated international concern about the revived drug trade.

"Poppy fields are growing in large parts of the country, certain warlords are financed from the revenues of the crop and the economy of Afghanistan is dominated by the illegal profits of this growth," he said in an interview with the New York Times newspaper.

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