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Cablegate: Attorney General Ashcroft's December 14 Visit To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRAGUE 001859

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KJUS PREL CVIS EZ
SUBJECT: ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHCROFT'S DECEMBER 14 VISIT TO
PRAGUE


-- SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PROTECT ACCORDINGLY --

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Attorney General Ashcroft met separately
with the Czech Ministers of the Interior and Justice in
Prague, December 14, 2004. The Attorney General thanked the
Czechs for their contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as
well as for their cooperation with U.S. law enforcement
agencies such as the FBI and the DEA. Both sides agreed that
the existing bilateral extradition treaty is outdated and
needs to be replaced. The Attorney General explained that an
updated bilateral protocol to the US-EU extradition agreement
would have to be negotiated in the future. Justice Minister
Nemec asked the US to reconsider its visa policy. The
Attorney General said he would share this with Secretary
Powell in a meeting the following week. END SUMMARY.


INTERIOR: GOODWILL, COOPERATION, AND A PERSONAL REQUEST


2. (SBU) The Attorney General's meeting with Interior
Minister Frantisek Bublan was characterized by gratitude on
both sides for the level of successful and necessary
cooperation between US and Czech law enforcement agencies,
particularly the FBI and the DEA. The one problem that was
raised was the outdated bilateral extradition treaty, which,
both agreed, needed to be replaced. The Attorney General
explained that he was in Europe to sign recently negotiated
MLATs and extradition treaties with six of the 15 "old"
members of the EU, and added that, while the US is
negotiating with the EU-15 before doing the same with the
countries that acceded this May, he was confident that some
day there would be a similar signing with the Czech Republic.
Minister Bublan said he would like to learn from the
instruments the AG is signing as it is likely that the future
agreement with the Czech Republic would be along similar
lines.

3. (SBU) Minister Bublan closed the meeting with a personal
request for the US government to help transport 2 armored
vehicles to Baghdad, where they would be used by a security
detail at the Czech Embassy in Iraq. This request has
already been passed through Embassy Prague's Defense Attache
Office to Washington and EUCOM.

JUSTICE: A FRANKER EXCHANGE ON EXTRADITION OF NATIONALS AND
VISAS

4. (SBU) The Attorney general's meeting with Justice Minister
and Deputy PM Pavel Nemec also began with his expressions of
gratitude for the Czech's demonstrated commitment to the rule
of law, and for their contributions in the fight against
terrorism. He specifically expressed his thanks for keeping
the Czech military policemen in Iraq until after next month's
elections. The AG also explained that the purpose of his
trip was to sign recently concluded MLATs and extradition
treaties with several EU states. He added that the US has
been working since 1997 on an updated extradition treaty with
the Czech Republic and that he was "eager to move forward on
this." The AG explained that the other EU states had, with
regard to the question of extradition of nationals, taken
what he referred to as "a mature position," and said he hoped
that the Czech Republic would see that it is in their
interest to have an updated treaty.

5. (SBU) Minister Nemec responded that he was also grateful
for the existing level of cooperation on law enforcement.
With regard to Iraq, he said, "It was appropriate for a
member of the alliance to act as we did." Addressing the
issue of extradition of nationals, Nemec explained that this
is a politically sensitive point. He argued that the
prevailing interpretation of the constitution, at least among
the lawmakers he knows, is that the Czech constitution does
not allow it.

6. (SBU) Finally, on the touchy subject of US visas for Czech
citizens, the AG said the US Government sees the Czech
Republic as a nation of growing economic prosperity and
international influence. He said he knows President Bush
favors easy access for legitimate travelers, especially those
from friendly nations, and pointed out that a bilateral
working group is trying to improve the application procedure
for Czechs wanting to travel to the US. Nemec responded by
asking the US to reconsider its visa policy. He said this is
a "very sensitive problem," and explained that while, on the
one hand, the US and the Czech Republic have great relations,
on the other hand, Czechs feel discriminated against since
citizens of many other EU states don't need visas to visit
the US. The AG promised to "communicate your concerns" to
the Secretary of State in a meeting the following week.

7. (U) Participants:

U.S.
Attorney General Ashcroft
Ambassador William Cabaniss
Bruce Swartz, Deputy AG
David Ayres, Chief of Staff, AG
Mark Corallo, DOJ Public Affairs Director
David Israelite, Deputy Chief of Staff, AG
Jeffrey Taylor, Counselor to AG

Czech Ministry of Interior
Minister Frantisek Bublan
Jaroslav Machane, Deputy Police President for Criminal Law
Michal Mazel, Director, Security Policy Department
Blanka Rybonova, Director, Section for Intl. Cooperation and
EU Integration
Olga Dvorakova, Section for Intl. Cooperation and EU
Integration
Czech Ministry of Justice
Minister Pavel Nemec
Vladimir Kral, Deputy Minister
Roman Polasek, Deputy Minister
Jindrich Babicky, Director, International Department
Petr Dimun, Press Spokesperson

CABANISS

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