- Leaders from around the world are condemning the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France and expressing their condolences for the victims.
- From US President Barack Obama to Pope Francis, all of them show their solidarity towards the attack
- At least 84 people are dead and 52 critically wounded.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and called for intensified efforts to confront terrorism and violent extremism, in a statement Friday.
Ban “stands firmly by the French Government and people as they confront this threat and stresses the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism,” the UN statement said.
He expressed his deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims’ families of “this horrific act” and wished a speedy recovery to the many injured.
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U.S. President Barack Obama posted a statement on Twitter Thursday night sending “thoughts and prayers” to the families of those killed in the attack and referring to France as the United States “oldest ally.”
“On this Bastille Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and traffic loss of life,” Obama said.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who had been in France to celebrate Bastille Day, called the attack “horrendous,” and said, “the United States will continue to stand firmly with the French people during this time of tragedy.”
European Council president Donald Tusk noted the significance of the attack’s timing and called on all people to stand with France in its time of need.
“It is a tragic paradox that the victims of the attack people celebrating liberty, quality and fraternity,” Tusk said while attending a meeting with Asian and European leaders in Mongolia. “We will stand united with the families of victims, the French people and the government in the fight against violence and hatred.”
NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he was “appalled and saddened” by the attack and that alliance’s other member nations “stand in strong solidarity with the people of France.” The attack in Nice “targeted innocent people and the core values for which NATO stands,” he said. “But terrorism will never defeat democracy, freedom and our open societies.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was also attending the meeting in Mongolia, pledged solidarity with France in the aftermath of the attack, saying that “Germany stands alongside France in the fight against terrorism. Words can barely express the bond between us and our French friends.” Merkel added that she was “completely convinced that we will win this fight despite all difficulties.”
German President Joachim Gauck, who is on a state visit in Uruguay, said Friday “the 14th of July, the day when France celebrates its national day, represents the values of the French Revolution, which are our values as well,” adding that “an attack on France, therefore, is an attack on the entire free world.”
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Britain’s newly confirmed Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack “horrifying” and said Britain will stand with France in its time of mourning. “We must redouble our efforts to defeat these brutal murderers who want to destroy our way of life,” May said Friday.
Pope Francis denounced the attack, saying “we condemn in an absolute manner all manifestations of homicidal folly, hatred, terrorism and attacks against peace.”
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that “the images coming out of Nice make words stick in the throat, fingers halt on the keyboard. Pain, emotion, solidarity.” There is “a moral duty to react,” Renzi said, stressing that “Italy and the international community undertake not to leave the French on their own.”
Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who was also attending the meeting in Mongolia, said he called his counterparts in France to express his grief. “We are very sorry and very much with the French people and the French government,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also took to Twitter to send a message to those in France affected by the attack — in both English and French.
In two separate tweets, Trudeau said, “Canadians are shocked by tonight’s attack in Nice. Our sympathy is with the victims, and our solidarity with the French people.” One of the messages was in English, while the other was in French.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was “shocked by the violence and exceptional cynicism” of the attack in Nice. Terrorism can be defeated only if “all civilized mankind pulls efforts together” to fight militants, their leaders as well as targeting their financial backers “wherever they are hiding,” Putin said.
Putin sent condolences to French President Francois Hollande on Friday and said that Russia is willing to work closely with France and other countries to fight terrorism which is “devoid of any human moral.”
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China’s Premier Li Keqiang said “we strongly condemn terrorism of all forms. We express our condolences to the victims and we will fight all kinds of terrorism.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday the attack shows “terrorism has no religion, race or nationality,” adding that “those who carried out this brutal incident have nothing to do with humanity. In essence these barbarians have no place in this world or should they have.” The world needs to see that for “for the terror organizations, there is no difference between Turkey and France, between Iraq and Belgium, between Saudi Arabia and the United States,” Erdogan said.
The international response comes after a man drove a truck through a crowed part of Nice’s seaside promenade, leaving at least 84 people dead and dozens more injured, some severely.
(Published with permission from VoaNews)