Bush joins world leaders in condemning 'vicious act of terrorism'

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World leaders reacted to the Madrid train bombings with outrage as they showered the Spanish people with messages of condolence.

President George Bush telephoned José Maria Aznar, the Spanish Prime Minister, and King Juan Carlos to condemn the "vicious act of terrorism". Mr Bush said: "I appreciate so very much the Spanish Government's fight against terror;their resolute stand against terrorist organisations like Eta. And the United States stands with them."

Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, who has forged close links with Herri Batasuna, the outlawed political wing of Eta, said: "It is wrong and those involved should stop."

The 15 members of the UN Security Council met in an emergency session hours after the attack and adopted a unanimous resolution condemning the attacks "perpetrated by the terrorist group Eta", despite the lack of a claim from the Spanish militant group. The resolution reflected the judgement of Spain's Government, which sits on the Council.

However, Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, was more cautious, and did not say who he thought was to blame. Mr Annan said he learnt about the attacks "with profound shock and indignation". He said: "The killing of innocent people cannot be justified, regardless of the cause."

Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, described the attacks as "ferocious and senseless". He said: "This is not a political act; it is a criminal act against defenceless people."

Pat Cox, the president of the European Parliament, said the attacks were carried outdays before an election in Spain. He said: "What happened today is a declaration of war on democracy."

Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, said he was "deeply dismayed by this inhuman attack", while Jacques Chirac, the French President, sent condolences to the Spanish people. Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, said: "The civilised world must unite in the fight against this evil."

Venezuela declared several days of national mourning. The Chilean President, Ricardo Lagos, wrote in his message to Mr Aznar: "Our Spanish friends will have to react the way they know ­ with the unity of the people. We should not let ourselves be intimidated."

The secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said it "condemns such terrorist acts that aim at killing innocent civilians". The Pope also joined the chorus of condemnation.