07 July 2005
London Attacks Harden Resolve Against Terrorist Tactics
Leaders cite need for international action against terrorism
Washington – International leaders from Europe to the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere spoke out swiftly to express sympathy, solidarity and condemnation following a series of terrorist attacks in London July 7.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Spaniards well understand the suffering of the British people. “We unite with their grief as they and so many other people united with ours,” he said, referring to the train bombings that killed 191 people in Madrid in 2004.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer referred to the London attacks -- which injured many hundreds and killed more than 37 -– as “heinous crimes.” He said the London attacks “underline the need for the international community and members of the alliance to remain united in the fight against terrorism.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the apparently coordinated attacks in London show that too little is being done at the moment “to unite our efforts in the most effective way in the battle against terrorism.”
The European Parliament observed a moment of silence for the victims of the July 7 attacks, and EU President Joseph Borrell sent a message of solidarity to the British people: “We all stand with you today, and we will never let the atrocities of terrorism defeat the values of peace and democracy in Europe.”
Italian European Commissioner Franco Frattini said the explosions that ripped apart one of London’s famed red double-decker buses and gutted portions of the underground subway system amounted to a terrorist strike against Europe.
At the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, its chairman, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, said "If the worst reports are confirmed, such an attack represents one of the most brutal terrorist crimes since the explosions in Madrid, a year ago. All such acts violate every human principle and are to be denounced in the strongest possible terms." Speaking on behalf of the 55 participating states, he assured the British government of the full support of the OSCE in its efforts to combat international terrorism.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin described the latest attacks in Europe as “odious acts” and expressed his nation’s solidarity with Great Britain.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said what happened in London has a special resonance for the American people because the United States has no stronger, closer ally than Great Britain. Both nations are bound together by their common heritage and language, he said, as well as their deep commitment to freedom.
Echoing an earlier statement by President Bush, the secretary said “the United States will stand with the British people with unflinching resolve.” (Rumsfeld’s complete statement is available on the Defense Department’s Web site.)
U.S. Charge d’Affairs David Johnson said the U.S. Embassy in London is working closely with British officials.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said Canadian security forces are also working closely with their British counterparts. “We stand ready to provide any assistance that may be required at this difficult hour and in the days and weeks ahead,” he said. “Our collective freedom has come under attack today by those who would use violence and murder to force extremism upon the world. We must and … will stand against these terrorists. We will do so together. And we will prevail,” the prime minister added.
From Italy, Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement calling the London bombings “barbaric acts against humanity.”
London Mayor Ken Livingstone put the issue in perspective when he said: “This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old.” What occurred July 7, he said, was representative of neither ideology nor faith, but “an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder.”
Reaction from Middle Eastern leaders expressed similar outrage. Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said the London terror highlights “the need to stand up to the evil of terrorism in any country,” while Lebanese President Emile Lahud said his country shares the British pain that these attacks have caused. Syrian President Bashir al-Assad described the attacks as “detested acts” and Saudi Arabia also labeled the London bombings “a heinous act.”
The attacks came only one day after Britons celebrated the selection of London to be the location for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The attacks also came as world leaders were meeting in Scotland at Group of Eight (G8) Summit.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said each nation around the summit table has had some experience with the effects of terrorism and all the leaders share a resolve to defeat it. In addition to the G8 nations, leaders from Brazil, South Africa, China, India and Mexico were attending when a summit communiqué was issued saying the terrorists would not achieve their objectives. “We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations and on civilized people everywhere,” it said.
The G8 meeting continued after Blair flew to London to deal with the aftermath of the bombings. Blair said the terrorists' bombings would not weaken resolve. “We shall prevail and they shall not,” he said.
While British authorities worked to analyze crime evidence, a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks was posted on the Internet. The Secret Organization Group of al-Qaida of the Jihad Organization in Europe said it was time to rejoice in the revenge that it was taking against the British government for massacres it alleged were committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group’s statement also indirectly threatened action against Italy and Denmark unless those nations withdraw troops from the Middle East and South Asia.
For more information about U.S. policy on terrorism, see Response to Terrorism.