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3 September 2004 -- The United States, the United Nations, and the European Union today led the international community in condemning the hostage taking at a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan where some 200 children and adults died after explosions and gunfire broke out.
U.S. President George W. Bush said the hostage taking in Beslan is a "grim reminder of the lengths to which terrorists will go."
"We mourn the innocent lives that have been lost. We stand with the people of Russia. We send them our prayers in this terrible situation," he said.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said European Union foreign ministers meeting in The Netherlands today expressed "complete solidarity" with Russia.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country currently heads the EU, expressed regret that the crisis could not be resolved peacefully. However, Bot said he understands the "difficult dilemma" the government was confronted with.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was "horrified" to learn how the situation developed.