White House to hold global security summit Feb 18: U.S. official

Daily News Article   —   Posted on January 13, 2015

French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, with the British home secretary, Theresa May, in Paris on Sunday.

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will invite allies to a Feb. 18 security summit in Washington to try and prevent violent extremism, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Sunday after meeting his European counterparts in Paris.

The gathering of justice and interior chiefs came as France mourned 17 victims of Islamist gunmen this week in the worst assault on its homeland security in decades.

“We will bring together all of our allies to discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world,” Holder told reporters.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said after the meeting that European interior ministers* had agreed to boost cooperation in an effort to thwart further jihadist attacks. [*The interior minister is similar in the U.S. to a combination of the FBI and Homeland Security]

“We all agree that we need to put in place better control on certain passengers, on the basis of objective criteria and with respect for fundamental liberties and without disrupting cross-border travel,” he said.

He said Europe needed urgent progress in establishing a European Passenger Name Record database, which would facilitate the exchange of data about passengers between European Union (EU) member states. [Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, led demands for a new Europe-wide travel database to track the movement of all air, train and ferry passengers at an emergency meeting of EU interior ministers in Paris on Sunday.]

EU_map“We are convinced of the need for such a tool, to follow those who travel to terrorist operating theaters or who return from there,” he said, adding that this database would also be useful in the fight against other serious crimes.

Cazeneuve said the Internet needs to remain a space for free expression, but that Europe should fight against abusive use of the web to spread hate speech, anti-Semitic messages and the recruiting vulnerable young people for violence.

“We need to work more closely with Internet companies to guarantee the reporting and if possible removal of all content that amounts to an apology of terrorism or calls for violence and hatred,” he said.

Cazeneuve said EU interior and justice ministers planned to meet soon to discuss further action. A European source said the meeting could take place next week in Brussels.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus, Yves Clarisse and Geert De Clercq; writing by Geert De Clercq; editing by Mark John and Anna Willard)

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Appearing on Saturday in Evry, a town just south of Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the country is at war against radical Islam.

“We are at war — not a war against a religion, not a war against a civilization, but to defend our values, which are universal,” he proclaimed.

“It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity,” Valls continued.

“We cannot let pass a single one of these messages, or a single one of these acts. Our indignation must be clear, total and last long­er than three days. It must be permanent.

“We need standards, values and authority. There must be a firm message about the values of the republic and secularism.

“Journalists were killed because they defended freedom. Policemen were killed because they were protecting you,” he said, and “Jews were killed because they were Jewish.”


  • An interior ministry is a government ministry typically responsible for policing, emergency management, national security, supervision of local governments, conduct of elections, public administration and immigration matters.
  • It is similar of the head of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Minister of the Interior in France is one of the most important French government cabinet positions. The Minister is responsible for the following:
  • The general interior security of the country, with respect to criminal acts or natural catastrophes
  • including the major law-enforcement forces: the French National Police and the French Gendarmerie for its police operations (as a part of the French armed forces, the Gendarmerie is administratively under the purview of the Ministry of Defense) and Civil defense
  • In France, the National Gendarmerie is a branch of the French Armed Forces, in charge of public safety, with police duties among the civilian population. It also contains a military police force and a special forces component (GIGN). It had a strength of more than 98,155 personnel as of 2011.
  • The Gendarmerie works with the other national law enforcement agency, the Police Nationale, and from 2009, although it is a part of the armed forces establishment, it is now a part of the Ministry of the Interior as its military component and forms part of its operations and budget. It is mandated to fulfill national security duties and duties in support of its parent ministry. (from wikipedia)