MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec (Reuters) - Meeting for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks forced governments to rethink security, justice officials from the world's richest countries gather in an off-season Quebec ski resort on Sunday for talks on countering a global terrorist threat.
The discussions, which last until Tuesday, prepare the ground for a June summit of the Group of Eight industrialized countries -- host nation Canada, along with Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Participants include U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, his Canadian counterparts, and ministers, deputy ministers or top officials from the other countries, which responded in subtly different ways to the aftermath of the attacks.
"We need to increase our cooperation, and we need to have a much better exchange of information as well," Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon told reporters at the resort, its brown ski runs bare of all but a few lingering patches of snow.
"We need to roll up our sleeves in order to make sure that we will keep protecting our society, not only here in Canada, but across the world."
Cauchon said the meeting would focus on risks from chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons, ways to choke off funds for terrorist groups, child pornography in the era of the Internet and the possible ties between terror groups and organized crime.
"At the moment we are looking... I think it is much too early to say the two are interrelated, but the important thing is to look at the question and move quickly," he said.
FEDERAL, PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL POLICE
Police from federal, provincial and municipal forces are in Tremblant to guard the meeting, and Canadian officials say coyly that security will be "adequate."
The delegates will meet behind police lines at a five-star hotel at the resort, a Disney-esque collection of chalets apparently designed to resemble an Alpine town -- except that the roofs are bright red, green and blue.
But there has been as yet little sign of the equally colorful protests that have dogged previous international meetings, where anti-globalization activists complain that free trade is worsening conditions for poor countries, or that a push to industrialize is ruining environments.
The at times violent anti-globalization movement has prompted governments to hold international meetings in increasingly remote locations.
Mont-Tremblant, known for skiing in winter and golf in summer, is about 90 minutes from Montreal, while the G8 summit will be held in Kananaskis, a Rocky Mountain resort outside Calgary, Alberta that is easy to seal off.
The official said terrorism would be the main focus of the Tremblant meeting, although participants would also touch on other issues.
"We want to continue to press for strong action in the global campaign to combat terrorism and cooperate internationally in doing so," a U.S. Justice Department official said. (Additional reporting by Robert Melnbardis)
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. NoNonsense English offers this material non-commercially for research and educational purposes. I believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, i.e. the media service or newspaper which first published the article online and which is indicated at the top of the article unless otherwise specified.