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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release: December 12, 1993
                      December 12, 1993

     In the ongoing struggle against the Mafia and other 

international crime syndicates, the United States renews its pledge of solidarity with and support for the government and people of Italy.

Organized crime is a scourge that has exacted a terrible toll in both our nations -- a toll in lives ravaged by narcotics, brutalized by violence, destroyed by murder.

The government of the United States, like the government of Italy, is committed to fighting back, to reclaiming our streets, and to punishing those whose criminal conduct tears at the fabric of our societies and threatens the lives of our citizens.

Accordingly, I am directing the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury to do all they can to strengthen the cooperation between American and Italian law enforcement.

As evidence of our resolve, Louis Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Ronald K. Noble, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement in the Department of the Treasury, are in Italy this weekend for high-level meetings with Italian authorities to discuss new steps we can take to combat organized crime.

Director Freeh and Assistant Secretary Noble are speaking today in Palermo on these joint law enforcement efforts. They will underscore the debt that we and all nations owe to Judge Giovanni Falcone -- the courageous jurist murdered while leading the fight against the Italian Mafia -- and to the scores of other brave Italians who put their lives on the line every day in the battle against organized crime.

The United States government was pleased that we were able to assist Italy in the search for Judge Falcone's murderers. FBI laboratory experts facilitated the processing of DNA evidence at the crime scene in Sicily. Their help proved to be a crucial factor leading to the recent filing of charges against a large number of suspects.

Director Freeh is also carrying our message of commitment and cooperation to Italian law enforcement officials. Their sustained and determined assistance has helped American law enforcement officials make real and tangible progress against the Mafia in the United States.