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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
John O'Donoghue, Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform of Ireland
Remarks at Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Signing Ceremony
January 18, 2001, Washington, DC
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Justice Minister O'Donoghue, colleagues from the Departments of Justice and State, guests and friends, good morning.

One of the pleasures that will make me miss this job is signing such worthy agreements as this Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Ireland and the United States. The idea behind such treaties is simple. Criminals, narcotics traffickers and terrorists show no respect for international borders. This demands special effort and cooperation from the governments that seek to deter and defeat such criminals and make them pay for their crimes.

This particular treaty cements a bilateral law enforcement relationship that was already excellent. It will be an effective tool to help the United States and Ireland serve documents and provide records, perform searches and seizures, transfer witnesses and obtain their testimony and seek the forfeiture of assets.

The United States already has mutual legal assistance treaties in effect with more than three dozen countries, and each new one strengthens our efforts to give international criminals no place to run, no room to hide, no profits to enjoy, and no future to look forward to outside of prison.

I want to thank and congratulate every Irish and US Government official who worked to bring about this treaty. Befitting our warm friendship and shared interests, these were notably cordial negotiations, but what they lacked in histrionics, they made up for in results. And the outcome is an agreement of which we may all be very proud.

And with that, let me proudly give the floor to the Minister.

MR. O'DONOGHUE: Thank you, Secretary of State Albright for your kind words.

As you have already mentioned, in compliance with our international obligations, our two countries have already been providing mutual assistance in criminal matters. An example of this cooperation was seen recently in connection with a major investigation by your authorities into suspected illegal trafficking of counterfeit spare parts for aircraft. Based on those already existing agreements, our police and customs officials were pleased to be able to successfully cooperate with your agents in that investigation.

I would like to extend my very sincere appreciation to you, Secretary of State, and your staff for the warm welcome you afforded us today. I am particularly conscious that you have been extremely busy, particularly over recent weeks, and I am grateful to you for the time afforded to us to enable us to complete this signing.

You are now moving on, I know, to a new phase in your life, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you continued success and happiness in the future.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you. Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

[End of Document]
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