'Terrorist frenzy' horrifies Europe
By ALAN FREEMAN, The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
LONDON -- European leaders from Paris to Moscow reacted with horror and revulsion yesterday to the massive terrorist attacks on U.S. targets as security was tightened at airports and U.S. installations around the globe.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said after an emergency cabinet meeting that the attacks on New York and Washington represent "the new evil in our world" that must be fought and destroyed.
"This is not a battle between the United States of America and terrorism, but between the free and democratic world and terrorism," Mr. Blair said, vowing that Britain stood "shoulder to shoulder" with the Americans at a time of tragedy.
In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks and vowed in a telegram to U.S. President George W. Bush that "such an inhuman act must not go unpunished. The entire international community should unite in the struggle against inhumanity."
In France, armed troops were sent to airports and subway stations as part of an emergency plan drawn up in 1995 during a wave of terrorist bombings in Paris. President Jacques Chirac called the terrorism in the United States "monstrous."
European Union foreign ministers planned an emergency meeting today to consider their response to the incidents. Chris Patten, the EU's external-relations commissioner, called the attacks "an act of war by madmen" and compared them to the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in 1941.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the attacks "deliberate acts of terrorism, carefully planned and co-ordinated."
George Robertson, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, called them an "intolerable aggression against democracy."
In London, the Queen said she was watching developments in "growing disbelief and total shock." A plane carrying her son, Prince Andrew, on a flight from London to Atlanta, returned to Britain after the U.S. attacks.
Pope John Paul said in a telegram to Mr. Bush that he wanted to express "my profound sorrow and my closeness in prayer for the nation in this dark and tragic moment." In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ordered that Italian and EU flags be flown at half-mast. He condemned "these monstrous criminals who have demonstrated a vile and brutal affront against humanity."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called the attacks "a declaration of war against the entire civilized world."
The German government convened its national security council and armoured cars moved into position around the U.S. embassy, where a session debating the budget was suspended.
The public opening of Berlin's newly inaugurated Jewish Museum, planned for last night, was cancelled.
The German stock market suffered its largest fall since 1989, losing 8.5 per cent of its value yesterday. The exchange was cleared after a bomb threat as all of Frankfurt's skyscrapers were ordered closed.
The French stock market fell 7.4 per cent but all European exchanges said they plan to open normally today.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, whose government has been at war with Basque terrorists, called yesterday's events "a terrorist frenzy."
Extra police protection was thrown up at U.S. embassies around the world and there was disruption of air traffic to and from the United States.
Lufthansa, the German airline, said that about 5,000 of its passengers were affected as 22 of its trans-Atlantic flights were recalled or diverted.
In Britain, a police spokesman at London's Heathrow airport said several flights operated by American Airlines and United Airlines that had been on their way to the United States were turned back to Britain after the attacks.
Mr. Blair announced increased security at airports in the United Kingdom, including a ban on virtually all private flights and an interdiction of aircraft from flying over central London.