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U.S.: World Reacts To Terrorist Attacks

Prague, 11 Septermber 2001 (RFE/RL) -- There are reactions of outrage and sorrow from around the world at today's terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said in Kyiv that he is "appalled," and that "Europeans stand firmly and fully behind the United States." He also said consultations about the terrorist acts are underway on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Individual European leaders echoed his comments. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called the attacks in Washington and New York a "declaration of war against the civilized world." France's President Jacques Chirac termed the events "monstrous."

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin expressed their deep sympathy, and Japan's Premier Junichro Koizumi ordered police to tighten security outside U.S. military bases in Japan.

Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf called the events "brutal." Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said he could find no words of condemnation strong enough.

Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat expressed his sorrow. He said: "First of all, I am offering my condolences, the condolences of the Palestinian people to the American president, to his government, and the people for this terrible act. We are completely shocked. Completely shocked. Unbelievable."

In Rome, Pope John Paul II called this "a dark and tragic moment."

A spokesman for Afghanistan's ruling Taliban claimed today that Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden could not be responsible for the spate of terrorist attacks.

Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel spoke from Kabul. He said the three attacks in the U.S. could not have been the work of "ordinary people," but of a "very big power." He claimed Bin Laden could not have pulled it off himself. Mutawakel also said that the Taliban condemns the attacks.

The spiritual leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, denied today that it has any connection with the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York City and struck the Pentagon in Washington. He said in Gaza that Hamas's battle is in the "occupied Palestinian territories."

In separate comments, EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten said Europeans are watching events in the United States with "absolute horror." Patten said their prayers and deepest sympathy go out to their friends in the United States.