World leaders condemn Russia suicide bombing

WASHINGTON, Jan 24, 2011 (AFP) - World leaders condemned a suicide bombing that killed at least 35 people at a Moscow airport, with US President Barack Obama slamming the "outrageous" attack and the UN chief saying he was "appalled".

Passangers queue to pass security checks in Moscow's Domodedovo international airport on January 24, 2011. AFP
Passangers queue to pass security checks in Moscow's Domodedovo international airport on January 24, 2011. AFP

"I strongly condemn this outrageous" act, Obama said, quoted by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

"Any assistance that the government of Russia needs or wants, we certainly stand ready to help," Gibbs added.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "appalled" by Monday's attack, a UN spokesman said.

"The secretary general is appalled by the deadly bombing... which has reportedly killed dozens of people," said spokesman Farhan Haq. "The secretary general condemns this deplorable and unjustifiable act of violence against innocents."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed the "terrorist attack," while British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We should never allow the terrorists to win."

France and Germany also blasted the attack as "cowardly."

"The president of the republic assures the authorities of the Russian Federation of the entire solidarity of France in the face of this barbaric and cowardly terrorist act," President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said.

"I learned with dismay and disgust that many people had died in a cowardly attack on Moscow's Domodedovo airport, and that many more were injured," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a letter of condolence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for concerted global condemnation, saying: "Terrorism is international, and the reaction must be international. We will unite our forces. The terrorists will not make us give in, we will beat them and ensure their conspiracies fail."

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the blast in the packed arrivals hall of Domodedovo airport as a "brutal attack" and an "appalling and indiscriminate act of violence" that was likely to have affected many nations.

"The use of violence against innocent people must never be tolerated and we condemn those responsible for this horrible act," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy expressed outrage and called for Russia to "punish" the perpetrators.

"I am outraged by this criminal act and I call for those behind the suicide bomb to be tracked down and punished," Van Rompuy said in a statement, adding he had sent Russian President Dmitry Medvedev "a message of solidarity from the European Union."

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen also expressed the Western alliance's "solidarity" with Russia -- on the eve of high-level talks in Brussels between NATO and Russian officials on respective anti-missile defence shield plans.

"We are in this fight together," the defence organisation's secretary general said in a statement.

A "shocked" Rasmussen underlined: "This is a common threat that we have to face united. NATO expresses its solidarity with the Russian people and government."

Spain slammed the attack as a "vile terrorist act," with the foreign ministry saying in a statement: "Spain reiterates its solidarity with Russia and the commitment to continue their close cooperation in the fight against terrorism."

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, as current chair of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said: "There can be no justification for a brutal attack on innocent civilians. I offer my support to the Russian people and government at this difficult time."

The Russian capital has been repeatedly rocked by attacks over the last years blamed on militants from the North Caucasus region, where Russia has for years been battling an Islamist insurgency.

Double bombings carried out by two female suicide bombers on the Moscow metro on March 29, 2010, killed 40 and wounded more than 100.

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