The Guardian October 17, 2001


What they say....

Arab leaders reject US-British campaign

The Foreign Ministers of the 56 Islamic states which met last week in an 
emergency meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference issued 
statements critical of the manner in which the US is conducting the war 
against terrorism.

Muslim leaders questioned whether the evidence gathered by the US 
Government on the September 11 attacks supports the attack on Afghanistan 
and whether innocent civilians are paying the price of retaliation.

Qatar's Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said retaliation "should not 
extend to any but those who carried out those attacks. This requires 
providing conclusive evidence against the culprits."

In an apparent rebuke of George W Bush, he added: "The Islamic world was 
among the first to call for a dialogue of civilizations ... instead of 
falling into conflicting sects, camps and clashing dichotomies based on the 
principle of 'If you are not on my side, then you are against me'".

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat warned that the world should not focus 
solely on the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and forget about the 
Palestinian-Israeli violence.

Sheik Hamad called for a distinction to be made between terrorism and a 
people's "legitimate right to defend their freedom and self-determination".

The ministers expressed the willingness of the Islamic conference to 
participate in a UN-led effort "to define terrorism without selection or 
double standards and by treating its causes and eradicating its roots".

The communique rejected "targeting any Islamic or Arab state under the 
pretext of fighting terrorism" and expressed its concern over the death of 
Afghan civilians as a result of the US strikes.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa told "The Associated Press" that 
targeting Arab or Muslim states is "forbidden". He said "the conference 
rejected outright targeting of any Arab or Muslim state and this means that 
all Arabs and Muslims will stand with the country that is attacked".

The conference communique also rejected "linking terrorism to the Arab and 
Muslim people's rights, including the Palestinian and Lebanese people's 
right to self-determination, self-defence and resisting Israeli, foreign 
occupation and aggression."

* * *
Statement of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation
No to terrorism! Stop the war!
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) resolutely opposes terrorism in all its forms. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 there has been an escalation of violence. The USA and its closest ally Great Britain have begun military actions in Afghanistan. The events are taking a dangerous turn with a growing number of people being killed, made destitute and forced to take refuge. There is a threat of these actions spreading and turning into large-scale military conflicts against other states. It's evident that such use of military power will lead to a long-term deterioration of the situation in Central Asia, make the dramatic situation in the Middle East even more volatile and bring war close to the borders of the Russian Federation. We are against the war. A war no matter under what pretext it is waged, cannot solve the problem of terrorism. It is essential to remove the deep-rooted reasons which have brought forth this phenomenon. We do not think that Russia should go along with the aggressive policy of the USA. It is necessary to act strictly within the framework of international law while taking into consideration the interests of the Russian Federation. President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, is far from doing everything possible to prevent our country from being involved in a new Afghan war. This may lead to tragic consequences both inside and outside Russia. In such a grave situation the political leadership of Russia must act in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation; constantly consult with the Federation Council and representatives of leading political forces and not act hastily.
* * *
Vietnam calls for "immediate halt" The newspaper of the Vietnamese People's Army Quan Doi Nhan Dan has called for an "immediate halt" to the US-led strikes against Afghanistan. The attacks on a "sovereign country" were no way to fight terrorism it said. "The Vietnamese people are profoundly concerned and very worried by the fact that the United States has launched a war in Afghanistan ... a strategic and sensitive area of southwest Asia. "We call on the United States and their allies to order an immediate halt to this war", said the paper, one of the three main Vietnamese dailies. It said Vietnam backed efforts by the United Nations to eliminate terrorism, but could not support military action. "It is impossible to fight terrorism through war, particularly one launched against an independent and sovereign country", said the newspaper commentary.
* * *
Indonesia's Vice-President calls for halt to bombing Indonesia's Vice President Hamzah Haz urged the US to stop the military attacks in Afghanistan to avoid further civilian casualties. "I call on the United States to stop the attacks in Afghanistan or else more civilians will fall victim", he said. He also said that the US Government must present solid evidence of Osama bin Laden's involvement in the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. "That's a big question which has yet to be answered", he said. The Indonesian Government has issued a formal statement neither condemning nor supporting the US military action in Afghanistan, but urging that the attacks on targets be "limited".

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