World leaders remember 9/11 victims and survivors

AFP , Saturday 11 Sep 2021

World leaders sent messages of solidarity Saturday on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, saying the attackers had failed to destroy Western values

World leaders sent messages of solidarity Saturday on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, saying the attackers had failed to destroy Western values.

Here are leading reactions:

- Britain -

"We can now say with the perspective of 20 years that they (the jihadists) failed to shake our belief in freedom and democracy," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

"They failed to drive our nations apart, or cause us to abandon our values, or to live in permanent fear."

Queen Elizabeth II, in a separate message, said: "My thoughts and prayers - and those of my family and the entire nation -- remain with the victims, survivors and families affected."

- NATO -

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, said: "Within 24 hours of the attack, NATO Allies invoked Article 5 for the first time, our mutual defence clause that states that an attack on one ally is an attack on every ally.

"Shortly after, NATO surveillance planes were patrolling American skies."

He noted the attacks were organised by Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan.

"NATO went in to prevent the country from serving as a safe haven for terrorists who could threaten us once again. And over the past two decades, no terrorist attacks against NATO Allies have been organised from Afghanistan."

- European Union -

"On 9/11 we remember those who lost their lives and honour those who risked everything to help them. Even in the darkest, most trying of times, the very best of human nature can shine through," said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.

"The horrific attacks of #September11 20 years ago changed the course of history. We remember the victims and noble sacrifice of so many first responders and aid workers. The EU stands by the US and @POTUS in the continued fight against terrorism and extremism in all its forms," tweeted European Council head Charles Michel.

- Australia -

"September 11 reminded us that freedom is always fragile. As Ronald Reagan said, it 'must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation'," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an opinion piece.

"That day was an attack on free peoples everywhere. It was an attack on our way of life and the values of liberal democracy. Despite the pain inflicted on that day, the terrorists ultimately failed in their attempts to crush our resolve and change our way of life."

- Germany -

"We have now had to recognise that although we have been able to defeat terrorism, which is endangering our security, at the present time we have not achieved all our goals," Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

"That is why it is important for us on the German side to safeguard what we have been able to achieve, education for girls and the like, although we know that this will not be easy with the Taliban.

"Above all, bringing citizens in need of protection to Germany and giving them protection is something we feel we have a moral obligation to do," she said.

- France -

"We will #NeverForget. We will always fight for freedom," President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

- Turkey -

"We once again strongly condemn this brutal terrorist attack and continue to share the sufferings of the victims and their relatives," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The September 11 attacks and the subsequent global developments have made it clear that international cooperation in the fight against terrorism without any distinction among terrorist organisations is a must."

- Switzerland -

"The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001 had a profound impact on global politics... Affirming the unconditional rejection of terrorism everywhere and always, Swiss President @ParmelinG expresses his solidarity with all of its victims," the government spokesman said in a message.

- Italy -

"Italy stands in solidarity with the United States and its other allies to counter any terrorist threat," President Sergio Materrella said.

- Venezuela -

The American people are commemorating 20 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, an event that we Venezuelans categorically condemn," President Nicolas Maduro tweeted.

"We raise our voices against all forms of aggression and violence that affect the life and peace of peoples." Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tweeted.

- Colombia -

"Twenty years ago, the world shook with an unprecedented insane act of terrorism. Thousands of people died and humanity understood that terrorism is the worst form of human degradation and corruption," Colombian President Ivan Duque posted on Twitter.

"Tolerating, justifying, legitimising, supporting or forgiving it became an internationally unacceptable conduct."

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