World shock over U.S. attacks
LONDON, England -- Shocked governments around the world offered condolences to America in the wake of the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The messages were led by Pope John Paul II who sent a telegram to President George W. Bush.
He said: "I hurry to express to you and your fellow citizens my profound sorrow and my closeness in prayer for the nation at this dark and tragic moment."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the attacks "deliberate acts of terrorism, carefully planned and co-ordinated."
Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent a telegram to Bush. "Dear George," he wrote, "such an inhuman act must not go unpunished."
A sombre and visibly shaken British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the world's democracies must "fight this evil" perpetrated by suspected terrorists in the U.S..
Blair added these sort of attacks were "perpetrated by fanatics, utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life."
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II also sent a message of condolence to Bush expressing her "disbelief and total shock."
European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to consider their response to the attacks.
EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten told Reuters."This is an act of war by madmen."
He compared the attack with that deployed by the Japanese at the U.S. naval base Pearl Harbor in 1941.
"This is one of those few days in life that one can actually say will change everything," he added.
NATO Secretary-General George Robertson called it an "intolerable aggression against democracy," Reuters reported.
Guy Verhofstadt, the prime minister of Belgium, which currently holds the chair of the EU, expressed "deep shock and dismay" on hearing of the attacks.
"On behalf of the European Union, [we] condemn in the strongest possible terms this type of cowardly attack on innocent civilians," he said.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said: "This is not only an attack on the United States but an attack on the civilised world."
Italian and EU flags flew at half-mast at the office of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who said Italy joined the U.S. in condemning "these monstrous criminals who have demonstrated a vile and brutal affront against humanity," The Associated Press said.
French President Jacques Chirac, in a live televised address, condemned the attacks as "monstrous," AP said, while prime minister Lionel Jospin talked of his "sadness and horror."
Canada tightened security in major cities and along the U.S. border.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in a statement released through his office, said he had "expressed his horror at the news that the United States has been the victim of multiple terrorist attacks."
He added: "It is impossible to fully comprehend the evil that would have conjured up such a cowardly and depraved assault upon thousands of innocent people."
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was reported by Reuters as saying: "The United States of America is face to face with one of the greatest tragedies in its history, something that could affect the entire world."
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said: "Cuba laments and expresses its profound sadness for the loss of so many innocent lives and expresses our absolute rejection of acts of terrorism, wherever they may come from."
The Cuban official also offered airspace and airports to any aircraft from the United States or elsewhere that needs it.
Mexico's President Vicente Fox reiterated his country's "total, categorical rejection of forms of violence, of all forms of terrorism."
Chinese President Jiang Zemin also sent a message to Bush expressing sympathy over the deadly attacks, Xinhua news agency was reported by Reuters as saying.
"This incident in the United States is extremely cowardly and is beyond what any words can describe," Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was reported by Reuters as saying.
In Islamabad, Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said: "We want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain and we hope that the courts find justice."
In Kabul, Afghanistan, Wakeel Ahmed Mutawakel, the foreign minister of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban government, told the Arab television network Al Jazeera, "We denounce this terrorist attack, whoever is behind it."
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat expressed their condolences for the attack.
Sharon said: "The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness."
He said that Israel was standing-by to provide the U.S. with any help it may need.
Mohammad Khatami, the Iranian president, said he felt "deep regret and sympathy with the victims."
Arafat said: "We are completely shocked. It's unbelievable. We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people."
But reaction from other Palestinian sources has been harsh.
Sheikh Yassin, leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, said "no doubt this is a result of injustice the U.S practices against the weak in the world."
From Gaza, Islamic Jihad official Nafez Azzam said "what happened in the United States today is a consequence of American policies in this region."
In the West Bank, Qais abu Leila, leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, denied any connection to the incident and said it has always opposed "terror attacks on civilian targets, especially outside the occupied territories."
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