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It’s barbaric, says Blair • Pope, Bush, others react

Posted by Punch on 2005/07/07 | Views: 369 |

It’s barbaric, says Blair • Pope, Bush, others react

World leaders expressed shock and anger over the deadly blasts in London on Thursday, and affirmed a determination to crush terrorism.

World leaders expressed shock and anger over the deadly blasts in London on Thursday, and affirmed a determination to crush terrorism.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, described the attacks as a barbaric war on the civilised world. He vowed that the terrorists would not win.

President George Bush of the United States told reporters at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, that, “The war on terror goes on.”

Other leaders of the G8 said they would stand together to defeat militants.

In a joint statement read by the visibly shaken summit host, Tony Blair, the G8 leaders said, “We condemn utterly these barbaric attacks.”

Flanked by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States as well as those of guest countries China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, Blair added, “We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism. This is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilised people everywhere.”

Bush said, “This is an opportunity to express heartfelt condolences to the people in London, the people who lost lives. I appreciate Tony Blair’s steadfast determination and strength.”

He added that he had been in contact with “our folks (in the US) to get in touch with local and state officials about the facts of what took place in London and the need to be extra vigilant as our folks start heading to work.”

The US president further said, “The contrast between what we see on the television screens and what is taking place here is incredible and vivid to me. We are working on solving the pandemic of AIDS and ways to have a clean environment, and you have people killing innocent people. The difference between intentions and hearts between those who care about human liberty and those who kill could not be clearer.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply shocked” by the “dreadful” events in London and sent her sympathy to the victims.

Pope Benedict XVI condemned the bombings as “barbaric” in a message to the Roman Catholic primate of England, Westminster Archbishop Cormac Murphy O’Connor.

“Deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attacks in central London, the Holy Father offers fervent prayers for the victims and for all those who mourn,” said the telegram signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

A group calling itself the Organization of Al-Qaeda Jihad in Europe claimed responsibility for the bombings and threatened similar attacks in Italy, Denmark and other countries with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraqi President, Mr. Jalal Talabani, said the explosions that hit London on Thursday proved terrorism to be a global plague that could strike anywhere.

“What is happening in Iraq can happen in any country,” Talabani, whose country is the scene of daily insurgent bombings, told reporters.

“I’m telling my Arab brothers that terrorism today in Iraq will tomorrow affect other Arab countries, as has already happened in Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that nations “must never bow to terrorists.”

And Australian Prime Minister, Mr. John Howard, whose country also has troops in Iraq, said attacks such as those in London would not alter “the determination of free countries to do the right thing.”

Russian President, Mr. Vladimir Putin, called on all countries to unite in a war against terrorism after the “inhuman” attacks in London.

French President, Mr. Jacques Chirac, who had frequently clashed with Blair of late over EU disputes, pledged his country’s “total solidarity” following the attacks.

And German Chancellor, Mr. Gerhard Schroeder, who also recently sparred with the British leader on European policy, said the attacks appeared clearly aimed at disrupting the G8 summit.

“We agree that the international community must do everything in its power to fight terrorism together with all the means at its disposal,” he said.

European Union Commission head, Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, called the blasts an “attack on democracy” and the “fundamental freedoms” that are at the heart of the 25-nation bloc.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who returned to France from Singapore where he went to defend his own city’s bid to host the Olympic Games, told reporters, “Right now, we are all Londoners.”

Spain recalled its own trauma during the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 and strongly condemned the London blasts.

“Spain, which has suffered for years from the scourge of national and international terrorism, offers its unconditional help to the United Kingdom to pursue the criminals who have carried out a shameful attack against a city which was celebrating after being chosen to host the Olympic Games in 2012,” a government statement said.

Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. Silvan Shalom, said he hoped the blasts would increase international vigilance against extremists.

“I hope that the free world will now be less lax in its attitude towards terrorist organizations,” he said.

Pakistan, which has a one-million-strong community in Britain, also denounced the assault.

“We offer our heartfelt sympathies to those who suffered due to such acts,” Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said.

Earlier, Bush and Blair met but could not resolve their differences on how to tackle global warming.

“There is no point in going back over the Kyoto debate,” Blair said after their breakfast. The US is the only G8 country that has refused to ratify the Kyoto agreement which took effect in February.

It mandates greenhouse gases reductions.

“Now is the time to get beyond the Kyoto protocol and develop a strategy forward,” Bush said.

Emphasising areas of mutual agreement, Bush praised Blair for inviting China, India and other emerging economies to the summit and discussions of climate change.

The president said the Kyoto treaty, besides being bad for the U.S. economy, was seriously flawed, as it did not include developing nations.

Apparently to downplay the impasse with the US over global warming, Blair tried to shift the debate toward increasing support for emission controls in China, the world’s second-leading emitter of greenhouse gases after the US.

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