EU pledges to tackle terrorism together
November 15 2015 01:34 AM

A child holds up a hand-drawn French flag as people gather in Turin a day after deadly attacks in Paris.


The European Union will tackle the threat of terrorism together, its 28 national leaders and the heads of its institutions said yesterday in a joint statement in response to the brutal attacks on civilians in Paris.
“It is an attack against us all,” they said. “We will face this threat together with all necessary means and ruthless determination.”
“This shameful act of terrorism will only achieve the opposite of its purpose, which was to divide, frighten, and sow hatred. We will do what is necessary to defeat extremism, terrorism and hatred.”
The leaders also called on “all Europeans” to join a minute of silence at noon (1100 GMT) tomorrow in memory of the victims of the series of explosions and deadly shootings that rocked Paris.
In the aftermath of the carnage, expressions of shock and horror as well as promises of solidarity came in from around the world.
“We, your German friends, we feel so close to you. We are crying with you,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, vowing to join France in fighting the perpetrators of such an “inconceivable” crime.
“This attack on freedom is not just against Paris. It targets us all. And it affects us all,” she said in Berlin.
In Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said: “Today we are all France!”
The bloodbath in Paris was the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, in which Islamist terrorists killed 191 people.
“They can do us harm, they will not defeat us,” Rajoy said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country knows “all too well about terrorism and we think and feel the same for the attacks in Paris,” the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Turkey, which is taking part in the US-led coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, had said the issue of terrorism would be raised at the G20 summit it is hosting this weekend.
French President Francois Hollande cancelled his participation after the attacks, with his finance and foreign ministers attending in his place.
Pope Francis said in an interview with TV2000: “There is no justification for this. This is not human.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram of condolence to Hollande, writing that the tragedy was “proof of the barbarian nature of terrorism, which challenges the human civilisation”.
“The entire international community should unite efforts” to fight terrorism, Putin wrote, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.
Indian Premier Narendra Modi, who is on a visit to Britain, condemned the “barbaric terrorist attacks”.
“India stands firmly with the great people of France in dealing with this tragedy. And we must stand together as humanity in combating the major global threat of our times and to uphold our values and our way of life,” Modi said.
From the White House, US President Barack Obama called the events in France an “outrageous act of terrorism” against innocent civilians.
“This is an attack not just on Paris, not just on the people of France,” Obama said. “This is an attack on humanity and the universal values we all share.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is Vienna for a new round of diplomatic talks on the war in Syria, called the attacks “heinous, evil, vile acts”.
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply shocked by the horrific terrorist attacks”, adding: “We stand strong and united in the fight against terrorism. Terrorism will never defeat democracy.”
Xi Jinping, president of China, said in a phone call to Hollande that China “condemns in the strongest way this barbarous act” and said that he was prepared to join in any efforts to step up security and combat terrorism.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “The home of freedom has been assaulted by terrorists determined to attack and suppress freedom, not just in France, but throughout the world.”
Egypt condemned in “the strongest possible terms” the attacks and expressed solidarity with France.
“Egypt emphasises its support for international efforts for combating terrorism, which knows no boundaries or religion,” the office of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a statement.
The Saudi foreign ministry called for “redoubling” international efforts to “uproot this dangerous affliction”.
Kuwait’s Emir Sabah al-Ahmed condemned the attacks in a cable to Hollande, calling them a “violation of all heavenly religions and humanitarian values”, according to the official Kuwaiti news agency.
Iran condemned the attacks and said it was ready to co-operate in the fight against terrorism.
“Our thoughts are first of all with the victims of this terror attack, their relatives, the people and the French government,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
South African President Jacob Zuma said the country “stands firmly with the rest of the international community in its condemnation of attacks targeting innocent civilians and reiterates its stance that terrorism, in whatever form and from whichever quarter, cannot be condoned”.
The Kenyan foreign ministry said that “as a nation that has suffered from terror attacks, we are outraged and reaffirm our strong and unwavering determination to relentlessly prosecute the global war against terror”.
Amid the outrage and defiant pledges of solidarity, several countries said they would tighten security, especially at their borders, and a few urged their citizens not to travel to France.
Several countries said they had stepped up their own security in response to the attacks, including Belgium and Switzerland, which border France.
France’s neighbour to the south, Spain, said it was maintaining its state of alert at level 4 on a five-point scale.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the Netherlands would tighten security at its borders and airports, and said the Dutch were “at war” with Islamic State.
“Our values and our rule of law are stronger than their fanaticism,” he said.
Belgium imposed additional frontier controls on road, rail and air arrivals from France and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel asked Belgians yesterday not to travel to Paris unless necessary.
Hong Kong also issued a travel alert for France.
Bulgaria imposed additional frontier controls on road and transit traffic.
London Metropolitan Police Service’s assistant commissioner Mark Rowley told the BBC that policing across Britain would be strengthened but said there would be no change to the threat level which currently stood at the second-highest category.
New York, Boston and other cities in the United States bolstered security on Friday night, but law enforcement officials said the beefed-up police presence was precautionary rather than a response to any specific threats.

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