Reaction Around The Globe

091301, story image, terror rescue effort rubble, JM
Mike Heller
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, reaction to Tuesdays terrorist attack on the United States has been swift, positive, negative and surprising.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Monday it was too early to talk of an alliance against "terrorism" and the United States should think twice before taking military action that would kill civilians.

Mubarak, whose country is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, said: "I think the world has a proposal of making a coalition for fighting terrorists, but I could tell you very frankly it's too early to think of this."

"To attack a country because of some individual, you are going to kill innocent people. We have to be very careful of that," he told CNN's Larry King.

Tehran's mayor Morteza Alviri has sent a message of condolence to New York's Rudolph Giuliani in the first public official contact between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran's media said Sunday.

"The news about the recent terrorist acts, which took many innocent lives in New York, caused deep grief and sorrow. Undoubtedly, this act is not just against New Yorkers, but all humanity," Alviri said in the letter written jointly with the head of Tehran's city council, Mohammad Atrianfar.

It was the first such missive sent to a U.S. official. Earlier messages of condolence were addressed to "the American people."

Iranian officials have been barred from contacting their U.S. counterparts since the aftermath of the revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed shah and led to a rupture in diplomatic ties.

The official contact, carried by the semi-official student news agency, appeared to have the blessing of Iranian leaders.

"Tehran's citizens express their deep hatred of this ominous and inhuman move, strongly condemn the culprits and express their sympathy with New Yorkers," the two reformist officials added. "We hope with a resolute cooperation among all peace-loving nations, terrorism will be rooted out," they said.

Iranian leaders - from reformist to conservatives - have strongly condemned the attack in an unprecedented show of sympathy with their long-time enemy. The United States has described Iran's response to the attack as "positive."

Severe punishment awaits Liberians caught hawking pictures of Osama bin Laden, chief
suspect in last week's terror attacks on the United States, police in the West African country warned Sunday.

Since the attacks last Tuesday, entrepreneurs have been running off pictures of the Muslim zealot for sale to eager buyers in the capital Monrovia - driven more from fascination than support for his cause.

"Anybody who is caught will be dealt with as a terrorist," said a statement from Liberia's police director, Paul Mulbah.

Liberia, whose relations with Washington are badly strained over President Charles Taylor's past support for rebels in Sierra Leone, has vigorously condemned the attacks, which left more han 5,000 people dead or missing.

Muslims make up about a fifth of Liberia's more than three million people.

Concerted support for a U.S.-led global war on "terrorism" is increasingly laced with caution and a growing fear of a Muslim backlash across Asia, and the consequences of that in a region already fractured by a number of religious disputes.

The prime minister of mostly Muslim Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, has cautioned that strikes by U.S.-led forces could fuel more violence, although he supports any action by Washington to punish those behind Tuesday's carnage.

The Philippines' defense minister held open the possibility on Sunday that Manila might allow Washington to use bases in its country in an international war on terrorism.

Retired General Angelo Reyes said the former U.S. Clark air base and Subic naval base near Manila - which Washington closed down in the early 1990s - could be used for such a purpose.

"When there are situations, you have to make a stand and we must make a stand. We cannot be fence-sitters," Reyes said in an interview on Manila's ANC television network.

"If this problem cannot be subdued, the more it will grow. We have to finish this now."
"We have to think very carefully of how we are going to help the U.S.," said University of the Philippines professor on Asian Studies, Benito Lim.

"We should not commit ourselves to the point of national suicide...we might provoke those sympathetic to bin Laden here and they might bomb metro Manila," he said in an interview on Sunday on Manila's ANC television.

On Saturday, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo expressed strong support for U.S. use of force against terrorism.

"Whatever support is needed, and we are capable of doing it, is what we will do. It's all-out support," Arroyo told reporters.

Japan faces one of the biggest challenges ever to its post-war security alliance with the
United States as it grapples with how to turn staunch verbal backing for America's expected retaliation against last week's acts of terror into action within the bounds of its pacifist constitution.

Some Japanese leaders fear a failure to resolve the tricky dilemma would not only mean Japan risked becoming diplomatically isolated but could call into question the foundation of the half-century-old two-way alliance.

"We must act within the limits of the constitution. But we also must try to respond fully to expectations the United States places on Japan as its key ally," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said on a television program on Sunday.

But while Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has given strong verbal support for retaliation, he has ruled out direct Japanese participation in a U.S.-led military action.

"Under the constitution, Japan is not able to act together with the United States and other G8 countries in using force," Koizumi told a news conference on Frida when asked what action Japan might take to support American action.

Japan's pacifist constitution renounces war as a means to settle international disputes and the government has long interpreted that to mean it is banned from going to the aid of allies when they are attacked.

Japanese leaders, however, are keen to prevent a rerun of the diplomatic disaster of 1991 when Tokyo came under heavy foreign criticism after it supported the U.S.-led war to oust Iraq from Kuwait but declined to commit even a token force to the Gulf.

Nuclear-armed India, dogged by tensions with Pakistan and with a big Muslim minority at home, has offered intelligence and facilities as relations with Washington, long frosty, warm up.

French Communists, struggling to balance traditional enmity towards the United States with being part of a coalition government that may join Washington in retaliation, are finding it hard to find the right words.

At a huge two-day gathering of the party faithful in a suburb of Paris over the weekend, communists tried to express sympathy for the human tragedy without undermining their own rhetoric against U.S. policies they believe neglect the poor.

"We are all citizens of the world," Communist Party leader and presidential candidate Robert Hue said in a short address, during which he eclared that the culprits behind the suicide attacks must be punished but all-out war avoided.

The head of L'Humanite daily newspaper, the Communist Party's offical organ, used his closing speech at the gathering to hold a minute's silence to honor the dead but warned against blindly following U.S. President George W. Bush to war.

"Our total condemnation of these barbarous acts, our solidarity with the American people, cannot be confused with an appeal to present a united front behind a war decided by President Bush," Patrick Le Hyaric said.

"The evil must be punished," Russian President Vladimir Putin said. "But we should not liken ourselves to bandits."

His defense chiefs have ruled out hosting NATO forces in former Soviet Central Asia or joining U.S. military action, although Moscow, with memories of its disastrous 1979-88 occupation of Afghanistan, says it will help with intelligence.

Germany's President Johannes Rau said Sunday that he did not expect the German army would take part in a military reponse to the terror attacks in the U.S.

"My impression is that it is not called for, rather what is required is support of a logistic nature," Rau said in an interview with German radio.

Rau said the people responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington should be found and brought before a court.

"This is an attack on the whole of civilization...Therefore we must react with civil means."

German soccer fans waved American flags in stadiums Saturday and held banners saying "You'll never walalone" in tribute to terrorist victims in the United States.

At games around the country, players formed a circle and held hands during a moment of silence before kickoff.

The advertising signs around the field at Munich Stadium were draped in white sheets that read, "Give peace a chance."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Sunday backed U.S. President George W. Bush's pledge to fight a war against the perpetrators.

"It is a war...between the civilied world and fanaticism," Blair said. "And whatever banner that fanaticism marches under, it is important that we recognize these are people who will stop at nothing."

Blair said it was imperative that the international community act against those who launched the devastating attacks on.

"We must put together a broad-based coalition to hound these people down and bring them to account," he said.

"However difficult it is, and however much we regret the fact that we have to take this action...nonetheless we have to do so."

At Mass at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II said he was "heartbroken" by the attacks but urged Americans to shun the temptation to respond with hatred and more violence.

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