International Reaction: 'These acts cut us all to the core'

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"A terrible event can happen at any time. We cannot let down our guard. We are working every day, and in a co-ordinated way in all the EU countries. Unfortunately there are times when one cannot prevent [a terrorist attack]."

Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief

United Nations

"These vicious acts have cut us all to the core, for they are an attack on humanity itself. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones, those who were hurt, those who were traumatised by this tragedy. Today, the world stands shoulder to shoulder with the British people, who with others around the world had mobilised so powerfully against poverty and climate change ahead of the Group of Eight summit, and who, I am sure, will confront this ordeal with the same spirit, courage and determination."

Kofi Annan, Secretary general

New York

"My heart goes out to the people who were affected by this, it reminds me so much of 11 September. I feel very sorry for them and I offer all the support and help and assistance we can give. I was right near Liverpool [Street] station when the first bomb went off and was notified of it and it was just to me very eerie to be right there again when one of these attacks takes place."

Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of New York on 11 September 2001

Australia

"I express my horror and disgust at this cowardly attack on innocent people. These sorts of attacks will not alter the determination of free countries to do the right thing. It's important that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our British allies at a time such as this.

Prime Minister, John Howard

Netherlands

"We are all shocked by the terrible events. We will stand by our neighbour in these difficult hours and days. This shows that an attack can happen in countries in and outside of Europe, even countries that have armed themselves against terrorism."

Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende

The Vatican

"Deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attacks in central London, the Holy Father offers his fervent prayers for the victims and for all those who mourn. Upon the people of Great Britain, he invokes the consolation that only God can give in such circumstances."

Telegram on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

Greece

"I was informed with grief and revulsion about today's terrorist attacks. On behalf of the government and Greek people I express my deepest condolences."

Prime Minister, Costas Caramanlis

Saudi Arabia

"It is a heinous act. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms and I offer my sympathies to the families."

Abdulmosen al-Akkas, Social Affairs Minister

Pakistan

"We condemn the attacks [and] offer our heartfelt sympathies to those who suffered due to such acts."

Sheikh Rashid, Information Minister

Afghanistan

"This terrorist act is shocking and despicable. I condemn it in the strongest terms. The Afghan people send their sympathies to the people of Britain. Afghans have suffered at the hand of terrorists for many years and understand the pain and suffering terrorism causes."

President Hamid Karzai

Belgium

"These barbaric attacks show us we need to push ahead and reinforce our war against terrorism." (Speech in parliament)

Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt

Ireland

"This is wanton violence. It is a black mark on society and a devastating blow against people."

Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern

India

"Global terrorism does not respect international boun-daries and we need to work together to counter it".

Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister

Pakistan

"We strongly condemn this act. This incident has further fortified our commitment to fight terrorism. It is imperative we stand together and strengthen our bonds of co-operation to eliminate this menace."

President Pervez Musharraf

Denmark

"This is the continuation of 11 September and the attacks in Madrid. No one can feel safe."

Mogens Lykketoft, former Danish foreign minister

Kenya

"It is with deep shock and profound grief that I have received the news of co-ordinated series of terror attacks in London which have resulted in loss of life, and terrible injuries to innocent people, as well as destruction of property. I condemn this brutal terrorist act and convey my deep sympathy to Her Majesty's Government and to the people of the United Kingdom."

President Mwai Kibaki

Hungary

"There are some who want to disrupt a country's success and a country's calm in an unacceptable manner."

Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany

Germany

"There has been a claim of responsibility we cannot yet judge, that could point to an al-Qa'ida background, but that is not sure."

Otto Schily, Interior Minister

South Africa

"We join the international community in condemning terrorism. We believe there is no reason for anyone to resort to these kinds of things and kill innocent people. The sanctity of human life is something all of us must hold dearly."

Bheki Khumalo, spokesman for President Thabo Mbeki

'We Spaniards know well the suffering now afflicting Britain'

Yesterday's multiple explosions in London bore cruel similarities to the Madrid bombings in March last year, prompting a wave of anguish and sympathy among Spaniards painfully reminded of their own horror.

The Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, said: "Spain has suffered the scourge of terrorism for decades and on 11 March last year was victim of the most devastating attack registered until then in Europe. So, we Spaniards know well the suffering now afflicting the British people."

He said he had written to Mr Blair to express "the total solidarity of the Spanish people with London". Spanish security services were on maximum alert, Mr Zapatero said, "and we are ready to provide every possible immediate collaboration".

Similarities between the attacks on the Madrid and London transport systems extended to the initial confusion about where, and how many, explosions had taken place.

In response to yesterday's attacks, Spanish broadcast media did what they did on 11 March: swept the schedules to transmit wall-to-wall coverage of London. Television images of Londoners with bloodied faces and bandaged heads reminded Madrileños of their own suffering.

But camerawork from London was more discreet, with fewer images of devastation and injuries. The effect was not reassuring. In Spain, the death toll that mounted to reach 191 provided a horrific measure of the Madrid massacre. Nearly 2,000 were wounded. Yesterday's uncertainty over casualties convinced many in Spain that the London toll must be even worse.

But as the day of the Madrid bombings wore on, calm descended. A people supposedly so anarchic and self-centred snapped into a well-oiled rescue and solidarity operation. Within hours, it became clear that the perpetrators were al-Qa'ida.

Elizabeth Nash

'It's time to step up to the plate'

Some of those making their way across Manhattan's Union Square at lunchtime yesterday hadn't heard. Asked about London, they wanted to talk about the Olympics. Those who had heard expressed deep sympathy - and also anger.

The first target of their ire was the terrorists. But often it was the political leaders they berated and not just those in America. "This is 2005, for heaven's sake," blurted Courtney Edison Abrams. "This is not going to end until we take stronger action."

Ms Adams, 29,had opposed the war in Iraq. But now she says: "I don't think doing nothing is the answer. Wake up already. We can't sit idly by and hope this is going to go away."

Jack Genicoff an estate manager, was blunt. "It's time for everyone to take care of the enemy ... to step up to the plate and stop paying lip service to the war on terror."

Jesse Garth, 24, a human rights campaigner, agreed "a more focused effort" against terror was needed. But he said: "The war in Iraq is misplaced. I don't think Iraq and the war on terror have anything to do with one another."

Everyone here, then, wants more to be done to stop this. But they don't necessarily concur on what that should be.

David Usborne

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