Global lead­ers re­act with hor­ror, re­vul­sion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - AN­DREAS RINKE and DMITRY SOLOVYOV

ULAAN­BAATAR/ MOSCOW: World lead­ers united in hor­ror and pledged their de­ter­mi­na­tion to fight ter­ror­ism af­ter a truck at­tack on a Bastille Day crowd in the French Riviera city of Nice killed 84 peo­ple.

Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, whose re­la­tions with the West have been strained over Ukraine and Syria, went on Rus­sian tele­vi­sion to con­vey his con­do­lences to French pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande af­ter ap­par­ently be­ing un­able to reach him by tele­phone.

“Dear Fran­cois, Russia knows what ter­ror is and the threats that it cre­ates for all of us.

“Our peo­ple have more than once en­coun­tered sim­i­lar tragedies and is deeply af­fected by the in­ci­dent, sym­pa­thises with the French peo­ple and feels sol­i­dar­ity with them,” he said, adding that Rus­sian cit­i­zens were among the vic­tims in Nice.

US pres­i­dent Barack Obama, Putin and Euro­pean and Asian lead­ers meet­ing for a sum­mit in Mon­go­lia joined in condemnation of what they called a ter­ror­ist at­tack in mes­sages to Hol­lande.

Euro­pean Coun­cil pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk cap­tured the global shock when he tweeted of the “tragic para­dox that the sub­ject of #NiceAt­tack was the peo­ple cel­e­brat­ing lib­erty, equal­ity and fra­ter­nity”.

Ger­man chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said: “All of us who have come to­gether at the sum­mit are united in our feel­ing of dis­be­lief at the at­tack of mass mur­der in Nice.”

Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Theresa May said Bri­tain stood “shoul­der to shoul­der” with France.

In France, far-right Na­tional Front leader Ma­rine Le Pen, ex­pected to do well in next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, faulted the coun­try’s re­sponse to past at­tacks.

“The war on the scourge of Is­lamist fun­da­men­tal­ism has not be­gun. It is ur­gent now that it be de­clared,” she said on Twit­ter.

Pre­sump­tive US Repub- li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump also tried to make a po­lit­i­cal point in re­act­ing to the car­nage, tweet­ing: “An­other hor­rific at­tack, this time in Nice, France. Many dead and in­jured. When will we learn? It is only get­ting worse.”

Pol­ish in­te­rior min­is­ter Mar­iusz Blaszczak said the at­tacks were “con­se­quences of decades of a pol­icy of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” in the EU.

Poland’s right-wing na­tion­al­ist gov­ern­ment has re­fused to take in Mus­lim mi­grants and refugees un­der an EU quota scheme.

In the Mid­dle East, many mes­sages of sym­pa­thy and condemnation were laced with do­mes­tic agen­das. Saudi Ara­bia’s top cler­i­cal body con­demned the French at­tack but said it should not dis­tract the world from “the crimes of the Syr­ian regime”.

Turk­ish pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan, whose coun­try was hit re­cently by a gun and bomb at­tack on Is­tan­bul air­port by sus­pected Is­lamic State mil­i­tants, said Turks could un­der­stand what France and the French peo­ple were go­ing through.

Is­raeli prime min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, whose set­tle­ment poli­cies on Pales­tinian land have been crit­i­cised by France and other coun­tries, said Is­rael stood ready “to help the French gov­ern­ment fight this evil un­til it is de­feated”.

Italy, Spain, Ger­many, Bri­tain and Bel­gium, all of which are neigh­bours of France, held sep­a­rate meet­ings to re­view their own se­cu­rity af­ter the Nice at­tack, which came just af­ter the French had suc­cess­fully hosted the Euro 2016 soc­cer tour­na­ment and launched a mas­sive se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion dur­ing it. – Reuters

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