Skip to main content International
The Web      Powered by

Leaders gather at terrorism summit

Madrid mayor: 'Help us defeat the terrorists'

From CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman

Spain's Prince Felipe speaks at the opening of the Madrid summit.
Justice and Rights
Acts of terror

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- As a summit on global terrorism began in Madrid, the mayor of the city that still recovering from train bombings last year called on experts to "help us defeat the terrorists."

The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security started just days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500 last March 11 .

The summit this week will bring together 23 current presidents and prime ministers, 34 former heads of state and 160 experts on terrorism and security. It is organized by the Club of Madrid, a group of former heads of state.

"We only hope that you help us to defeat the terrorists and oust them forever from history," Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon told the inaugural session of the summit, which continues through Friday.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the leaders of Morocco, Afghanistan and Algeria were due in Madrid this week for the conference, as well as European Union and Arab League leaders, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the heads of the Interpol and Europol international police agencies.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton also was scheduled to attend on Thursday but was forced to cancel because he must undergo surgery later this week to drain fluid and remove scar tissue that built up in the left part of his chest as a result of his recent open heart surgery, his office said.

Hours before the summit began, Spanish police arrested the latest suspect in the train bombings. Jaouad el Bouzrouti, 21, of Morocco, was detained near his home in the Madrid southern suburb of Fuenlabrada, the Interior Ministry said.

El Bouzrouti is linked to six other suspects in the train bombings, some of them considered to be principal figures, and owned a car that was used often by two of the other suspects, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Spanish authorities mainly blame Islamic terrorists for the bombings against four commuter trains during Madrid's morning rush hour. A total of 74 suspects have been charged, and 22 remain in jail.

Most of the suspects live in Spain although many were originally from Morocco, Spanish judicial authorities said. The trial is not expected to start before late this year.

Some 7,000 police officers were mobilized to provide security for the summit, as well as a NATO AWACS surveillance plane.

"The commitment of governments, the international community and all democratic political forces, as well as the citizens, against terrorism must remain active and alert," Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, said at the inaugural session. "Our common objective is to finish off terrorism."

The 160 experts on terrorism at the conference come from 30 nations, mainly in Western Europe and North America. Most are academics who work at universities or think tanks, while a small number are active-duty intelligence agents or military personnel, the summit organizers said.

The experts were due to present at the summit recommendations on how to improve the fight against terrorism.

One participant told CNN that with so many experts involved with the project, he expected to see only broad goals, not highly detailed recommendations, but other participants said they expect some precise and concise recommendations.

On Friday, one year to the day after the train bombings, the Kings of Spain and Morocco, and other dignitaries are due to inaugurate a "The Forest of the Absent" in Madrid's main park, with one tree planted for each of those who died in the bombings.

Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure

On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.