Department of Justice Seal

Prepared Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales After Bilateral Meeting with French Minister of Justice Pascal Clement

Paris, France
March 3, 2006

Good afternoon.

I am pleased to be here to address you alongside my colleague, Minister of Justice Clement, and say a few words at the conclusion of our extremely cordial and productive discussions.

This has been my first visit to France since becoming U.S. Attorney General and it is an extremely important one for me. Our societies share many values. Our citizens share a commitment to a freer, more just and peaceful world. And our governments share a commitment to make our societies as safe as possible.

From these shared commitments has developed a strong and durable law enforcement relationship. We each understand that achieving these goals depends on cooperation and coordination between our nations.

My discussions with Minister Clement, as well as Minister Sarkozy, Director de Bousquet and other key French law enforcement officials, have enabled us to review the practical cooperation we engage in on a day-to-day basis, and discuss how we can work even more closely together in the future.

Our first priority is to work together to disrupt terrorist networks and prevent them from harming our citizens. The United States and France have shared the devastation and loss of violent terrorist attacks. Like the United States, France has experienced terrorist attacks on its territory, and its citizens have been victims of terrorism abroad as well, including September 11, 2001. And the threat of yet other attacks remains very real. We are facing a patient and evil enemy who are intent on harming our citizens. While it is easy to grow complacent over time, our enemy remains focused. We must as well.

I'd like to congratulate thank Minister Clement, Minister Sarkozy and the entire law enforcement community in France for its effective action in disrupting terrorist networks before the attacks they plan can be carried out. I also wish to thank our French partners for the cooperation they extend to U.S. law enforcement agencies conducting investigations with the same objectives. Through cooperation, we can best ensure prevention.

The United States remains committed to international law and to supporting our international partners. That's why we are pleased to have had this opportunity to meet with our counterparts, in order to discuss issues important to our joint efforts to improve security and ensure the rule of law. And, of course, we are doing so in a manner that preserves civil liberties.

I am pleased to be a part of this continuing commitment to our citizens - and to the cause of justice.

Thank you.