19. September 2001


Schröder and Blair proclaim determination to combat international terrorism

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and British Prime Minister Tony Blair jointly proclaimed their determination to combat international terrorism at a meeting on the evening of 19 September. The two heads of government stressed the importance of international coordination in fighting terrorism.

After a lengthy private session with the British Prime Minister, Schröder announced at the Chancellery in Berlin, "Tony Blair and I consider it only natural to see the acts of terror committed in the United States as aggression against the entire civilized world rather than attacks on America.” The Chancellor said he and his British counterpart agreed that the response to the atrocity was not the launch of a conflict between cultures but a fight to eradicate terrorist activity.

Warning against indiscriminate condemnation of Islam

The Chancellor again warned against indiscriminate condemnation of Islam as a religion or of Islamic nations. The United States was assured the unlimited solidarity of the United Kingdom and Germany, including economic assistance, and if it should prove necessary, military support.

"We need both global and European programmes to eliminate the blight of terrorism,”  Schröder maintained. The European Council in Brussels on 21 September will focus on fighting terrorism, he said. Schröder stated that the council would launch a comprehensive campaign against terrorism - a political and technological crusade. European Union interior ministers would provide the leadership. "It goes without saying that we will closely coordinate this European programme with our American friends,”  the Chancellor promised.

Schröder and Blair expressed satisfaction that a breakthrough in the Middle East peace process now seems possible. Both leaders underscored American commitment and efforts to intercede in this region.

Blair: learning how terrorists operate

The British Prime Minister called the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., the worst acts of terror committed against British, German and other citizens since the Second World War. Blair said Germany and Britain shared the desire to demonstrate solidarity with the United States.

He said it was encouraging that a growing coalition was forming to take steps to counteract mass international terrorism. "We must learn to understand how such groups operate and infiltrate borders,”  Blair stated. The Prime Minister said that Friday's session in Brussels had to do more than affirm solidarity with America and that concrete, determined measures also had to be adopted.

Blair also stressed that the vast majority of people in the Muslim and Arab world were as horrified as the citizens of Europe.