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EU Governments 'Knew About CIA Flights'

Claudio Fava (file photo) (epa) November 28, 2006 -- A European official today said that most EU member states knew that the United States was operating secret prisons in Europe and withheld the information from an official inquiry.

Claudio Fava, who was appointed by the European Parliament to investigate the issue, also accused EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana of "omissions" in his evidence to the commission on May 2.

Fava said that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice informed European officials about the program of CIA rendition flights at a NATO-EU meeting in February 2005. He said European officials were subsequently informed of the practice at meetings in Brussels on February 8 and May 3 this year.

The secret prisons and the transfer by the United States of terror suspects to third countries have been strongly criticized by some EU governments and rights groups as a means of bypassing international law.

(AFP, AP, Reuters)