- diplomacy - Russia - suicide bombing - terrorism
International community pledges support after subway carnage
World leaders have condemned Monday’s deadly suicide attacks on the Moscow metro system, vowing to support Russia in its fight against extremism.
AFP - Western powers vowed to back Russia in the fight against extremists Monday as they condemned a suicide attack on the Moscow metro that killed 38 people during the morning rush hour.
Russia's key European partners Germany, France and Britain rallied to its side after the apparently coordinated strikes on two trains near the ex-KGB headquarters and Gorky Park, the deadliest attacks in Moscow in half a decade.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her "shock and horror", as she offered her condolences to the victims in a message to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, her spokesman said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the bombings were not different from the September 11 attacks in the United States, and that Russia deserves the support of all democracies.
"When New York was attacked, all the world's democracies were attacked. And when Moscow is attacked, we are all attacked," Sarkozy said during a meeting with Columbia University students during a trip to New York.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "appalled" at the bombing that struck at the height of the morning rush-hour.
"There will never be any justification for acts such as these," Brown's spokesman told journalists, saying he had sent a message of condolence and support to the Russian president.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed those behind the attacks would be "destroyed", as the head of Russia's FSB security service said they appeared linked to militant groups in the insurgency-wracked Northern Caucasus.
US President Barack Obama, who is seeking to improve ties with Russia, telephoned Medvedev offering his condolences and help to "bring to justice" those who committed the attacks.
Obama called to "personally convey the condolences of the American people on the loss of life and injuries resulting from the outrageous terrorist act in Moscow," the White House said in a statement.
"President Obama said that the United States was ready to cooperate with Russia to help bring to justice those who undertook this attack."
UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombings as a "heinous terrorist attack" while the UN Security Council said that terrorism in all forms is "one of the major threats against international peace and security".
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who argued this weekend for the West to embrace Russia as a partner for global security, strongly condemned the Moscow attacks in the name of the Atlantic alliance.
"NATO remains committed to cooperating with Russia in the fight against international terrorism," the NATO chief added.
European Union president Herman Van Rompuy also sent Medvedev a message of solidarity and condolences on behalf of the 27-member EU, as did Spain, which holds the bloc's rotating presidency.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, sent his Russian counterpart condolences and said no country was safe from extremist attacks.
"The fight against terror is a global mission which should be at the top of the international agenda, because no country is immune from attack by extremists," Lieberman was quoted as saying by a foreign ministry statement.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas "strongly condemned" the attacks in a message to Russian leaders, his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao "strongly condemned the terrorist attacks and supported Russian efforts to strike down terrorism" in a telegram sent to Medvedev, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
International police agency Interpol extended its help to Russia to track down the plotters behind what executive director Jean-Michel Louboutin branded as "despicable and senseless attacks".
"Interpol has offered every support and made available all of its resources to the Russian authorities in their investigation into these attacks," Louboutin said.
Russia's arch-foe Georgia condemned the attacks and Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze expressed condolences during a joint press conference in Tbilisi with Lithuanian counterpart Audronius Azubalis.
"On behalf of my Lithuanian colleague and myself, I express condolences to the families of the victims and we hope that those who are responsible will be found and punished," Vashadze told journalists.