World's Hearts with Moscow Hostages

Anxious words of sympathy and encouragement are coming to Moscow from the entire world. Other countries' leaders are expressing solidarity and support as international terrorists committed yet another atrocity by taking a huge number of hostages in a Moscow theatre.

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in Thursday's unanimous vote to denounce the hostage seizure, which it described as "cowardly act" by Chechen terrorists, and demand the hostages released urgently and unconditionally. The UN Secretary-General made the same demand.

Tony Blair, Great Britain's Prime Minister, made a telephone call to President Vladimir Putin, Friday night, to harshly denounce the "unjustifiable" terror act, and express heartfelt sympathy.

Indignation is overflowing the USA. As Colin Powell, Secretary of State, was having conference with Igor Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, he expressed solidarity with the hostages and approved action on the Russian federal top.

The Chinese government consistently and resolutely opposes terrorism, whatever form it might take, and vouches further wholehearted support to Russian governmental efforts against terrorism, separatism and extremism, President Jiang Zemin says in a telegram to President Vladimir Putin.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan made a telephone call to President Putin to promise every support in hostage rescue efforts.

President Geidar Aliev of Azerbaijan forwarded a written message to President Putin, saying he hoped the hostages would be soon released.

All twenty member countries of the Russia-NATO Council resolutely denounced the terror act. NATO and Russia are one in the fight with the evil, and the hostage takers are to surrender, emphasised Ives Brodeur, NATO spokesman.

The European Union is denouncing the Moscow terror act no less resolutely, and entirely solidarises with Russian governmental efforts to settle the crisis and have the hostages urgently released and taken to safety. The EU views the capture of innocent people as a cowardly terrorist crime which no goal can justify.

The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers gathered for an emergency conference in Strasbourg, Friday, to harshly denounce the hostage seizure in Moscow. The Committee cannot accept terrorist violence, whatever form it may take. Nothing can justify such violence, and it can never find justification, says a Committee statement.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation made a joint statement to denounce the Moscow terror act, and spoke for closer partnership of organisation member countries to fight terrorism and organised crime within the framework of available organisation agencies.

The Foreign and Trade Ministers of APEC countries harshly denounced the atrocious Moscow act. APEC countries denounce terrorism, whatever form it may take, as undermining stability in the Asian-Pacific area and worldwide.

Austria resolutely denounces the Moscow terror act, and qualifies Chechen extremist outbreaks among the worst forms of international terrorism. In a message to her Russian counterpart, Benita-Maria Ferrero-Waldner, Minister of Foreign Affairs, expresses heartfelt compassion with the hostages and their near and dear.

Joschka Fischer, Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs, is indignant with the barbaric terror act in Moscow, and demands an immediate hostage release on his country's behalf.

Greece hopes the drama will come to a happy end. It solidarises with the Russian government and vouches its support, says Telemachos Hytiris, government spokesman.

"An unprecedented act of crazy violence! It has no justification. The whole world must denounce it," says President Vojislav Kostunica of Yugoslavia.

The Montenegrin government supports the Russian government in hostage rescue efforts. Filip Bujanovic, Montenegro's acting Prime Minister, forwarded a telegram to Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina denounces the terror act by Chechen separatists.

President Emile Lahud of Lebanon is badly alarmed with the Moscow drama. His telegram to President Vladimir Putin expresses profound concern with the capture of several hundred innocent people. Terror and violence on civilians clashes with human values and principles, says Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. As his statement emphasises, whatever attempts to settle political issues through hostage taking are pointless.

India is indignant with the Moscow terror act, and denounces the inhuman practice of hostage taking. India's government and entire nation closely solidarise with the Russian government and nation, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee says in a written message to President Vladimir Putin.

South Korea's government harshly denounced whatever forms of terrorism. Seoul supports the Russian government in all its efforts to settle the crisis, and hopes related negotiations will soon finish with a beneficial outcome without detriment to hostage life and health.

Pak Ui Chun, North Korean Ambassador to Russia, expressed Pyongyang's compassion and solidarity as international terrorists seized several hundred hostages in Moscow.

Vietnam resolutely denounces the terror act and expresses heartfelt compassion with the Russian government and nation-especially the hostages and their near and dear.

President Natsagiyn Bagabandi of Mongolia expresses his alarm in an emergency message to President Vladimir Putin. "We Mongolians resolutely denounce whatever manifestations of terrorism. At this trying time, we are heart and soul with the neighbouring Russian people," he says.

The Indonesian government is indignant with the Moscow hostage taking. Indonesia hopes that Russian law-enforcement agencies will find a way out of the crisis, and bring to the least possible the threat to innocent people's life and health.

Jorge Castaneda Gutman, Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Relations, expresses, on behalf of his government and nation, solidarity with Russia in Moscow's plight.

Argentina is profoundly shocked, and expresses solidarity with the Russian top and public. In a statement, the Cabinet resolutely denounces hostage taking, expresses alarm over the fates of innocent people, and hopes they will be released as soon as possible.

Canada harshly denounces the hostage seizure, and regards it as a terror act against innocent civilians. Ottawa is closely monitoring the Moscow developments, says a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Hearty words of compassion, support and indignation with the violence have also come from the Vatican City, Estonia, ethnic Azeri residents of Russia, the Ukrainian Muslim community, and Bulgaria's political parties.

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