A three-day conference has opened in Madrid aimed at combating terrorism. The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security has been timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the March 11 train bombings in the Spanish capital. The attacks, which left 191 people dead, were blamed on Islamic radicals.
The conclusions of the gathering will be added to the “Madrid Agenda” – guidelines for a democratic response to terrorism. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is one of many world leaders and security experts attending. Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe opened the proceedings with a call for solidarity in the face of what he described as a global threat.
“This conference gives us another opportunity to repeat our condemnation of the barbarity of terrorism,” he said. He added that it was also an “occasion to repeat our never-ending defence of human rights and liberty.” Spain hopes to push the message that democracy has to defend itself against terrorism but that the defence of democracy itself is just as important.