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World: Global Leaders Condemn U.S. Attacks

Prague, 12 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Governments around the world are condemning yesterday's terrorist attacks on the United States. Russia, Israel and countries across Europe and Asia today expressed condolences and announced increased security measures to protect against possible new terrorist attacks.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder guaranteed Germany's "unlimited solidarity" with Washington.

"Yesterday's attacks in New York and Washington are not only an attack on the United States of America. They are a declaration of war against the entire civilized world. This type of terrorist violence, the senseless destruction of innocent lives, places the very basis of civilization in question."

Condemnations also came from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as well as Pope John Paul, who spoke of "unspeakable sorrow."

"Today, my heartfelt sympathy is with the American people, subjected yesterday to inhuman terrorist attacks which have taken the lives of thousands of innocent human beings and caused unspeakable sorrow."

U.S. partners in NATO also expressed solidarity with the American people.

The North Atlantic Council called the attacks on New York City and Washington an unacceptable act of violence that underscores the need for all civilized nations to intensify the battle against terrorism.

Israel -- as well as Syria, Iran, Libya, Jordan and Saudi Arabia -- also condemned the attacks. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime also spoke out against yesterday's violence.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which groups 57 Muslim states, condemned the attacks as being contrary to Islam.

But crowds cheered in the Palestinian territories. And state-run Iraqi television called the attacks the "fruit" of American crimes against humanity.

In Brussels today, European Union foreign ministers today opened an emergency meeting to discuss a joint response to yesterday's terrorist attacks on the United States.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, who is attending the meeting, said before the beginning of the talks that both NATO and the EU are speaking with "one voice" on the attacks, which he called "a profound tragedy."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the ministers will express solidarity with the American people and discuss measures to strengthen security at airports, public buildings, and on airlines in the European Union. Straw said the 15-nation bloc will also look at issues of "coordination" between member states.

Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, whose country holds the EU presidency, said EU finance ministers will take all necessary measures to ensure that financial markets function properly. He said the central banks of all EU countries have declared they will continue to support the system of payments and settlement by injecting cash into the markets.

The president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, said the EU must show absolute solidarity with the people of the United States.