France, West Germany Pledge to Join Forces to Combat Terrorism
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ West Germany and France announced establishment of a joint anti-terror working group, and today the West German interior minister said Italy also wanted to discuss ways to fight the resurgence of left-wing terrorism in Western Europe.
In recent weeks, assassinations, bombings and arson have taken place in France, West Germany, Greece, Belgium and Portugal. Avowedly left-wing or anarchist terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks. In Brussels, Belgium, the 16 NATO nations said today after a regular weekly meeting of ambassadors they were determined to combat the resurgent terrorism, which has been directed in part against the alliance and NATO- related targets.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in a statement, ″We take very seriously our responsibility to our personnel and to NATO institutions ... We are determined to prevent and suppress terrorism which seeks to undermine stability and destroy democratic institutions.″
On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met in Bonn and formed a joint security group to counter political violence.
West German Foreign Ministry spokesman Hans-Guenter Kowalski said today that Bonn and Paris also will set up a direct telex line between security officials of both countries to coordinate anti-terrorist measures.
Kowalski said Italian Interior Minister Luigi Scalfaro will meet in Bonn for two days next week to discuss ways to counter terrorism with West German Interior Minister Friedrich Zimmermann and other officials.
Urban guerrillas are believed to be coordinating their attacks on military and industrial targets around the continent.
West Germany’s urban guerrilla gang, the Red Army Faction, and a French terrorist group, Direct Action, said last month they would join to fight ″NATO and other imperialist organizations.″
West German officials were noncommittal on whether the Italians would be added to the Bonn-Paris anti-terror working group or would be included in some other form of cooperation between Bonn and Rome.
Kowalski said the working group will initially be composed of security experts from France and West Germany ″who must coordinate their investigations of concrete cases of terrorism by Direct Action and the Red Army Faction.″
″But we are seeking cooperation with other European countries as well,″ he said.
Italy now heads the 10-nation European Common Market and Scalfaro visited France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg recently to discuss a coordinated anti-terrorist program. He has made no secret of his belief that the Soviet bloc could be involved in the recent terrorist strikes.
West German officials have pointed to growing evidence that the Red Army Faction is increasing cooperation with the Red Brigades of Italy and Belgium’s Fighting Communist Cells as well as France’s Direct Action.
″We will do everything that is humanely possible to fight this threat to civilization,″ Kohl told reporters on Tuesday at a joint news conference in Bonn with France’s Fabius.
On Jan. 25, Rene Audran, a French Defense Ministry armaments’ official, was killed in an ambush in front of his home. Direct Action claimed responsibility.
On Feb. 1, Ernst Zimmermann, chairman of a giant West German aircraft engine company, was fatally shot at his home outside Munich. The Red Army Faction claimed resonsibility.
Last Friday, Portuguese terrorists blew up 18 cars belonging to West German servicemen stationed at an airbase in Beja.
The next day, 80 people, including 69 U.S. military personnel and dependents, were injured by a bomb blast in a bar near Athens.