October 2001 News

J&K attack firms up our resolve: Blair

4 October 2001
The Asian Age
Nabanita Sircar

London: In his address to the House of Commons on Thursday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the October 1 attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly made him more determined to fight terrorism. In his statement at a special session of Parliament, Mr Blair, spoke of the success of diplomatic efforts to build a global coalition to fight terrorism. He said, “What we have encountered is an unprecedented level of solidarity and commitment to work together against terrorism. This is a commitment that spans all continents, cultures and religions, reinforced by attacks like the one on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Srinagar which killed over 30 innocent people.” Mr Blair said the international coalition against terror was gaining strength daily. “The coalition is strong. Military plans are robust. The humanitarian plans are falling into place,” he said. Mr Blair also stressed that the US had evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. He said, “I can now confirm that of the 19 hijackers identified from the passenger lists of the four planes hijacked on September 11, at least three of these hijackers have already been positively identified as known associates of Bin Laden, with a track record in his camps and organisation. The others are being investigated still.” He continued, “Since the attacks, we have obtained the following intelligence: Shortly before September 11, Bin Laden told associates that he had a major operation against America under preparation; A range of people were warned to return to Afghanistan because of action on or around September 11; And most importantly, one of Bin Laden’s closest lieutenants has said clearly that he helped with the planning of the September 11 attacks and has admitted the involvement of the Al Qaeda organisation. There is other intelligence we cannot disclose of an even more direct nature indicating guilt,” he said. The document was later put in the library of the House of Commons. Mr Blair however warned that “much of the evidence we have is intelligence and highly sensitive. It is not possible without compromising people or security to release precise details and fresh information is daily coming in.” Mr Keith Vaz, MP, and former foreign office minister later said in the House of Commons that “The role played by Pakistan and India is something we should commend.” After Parliament, Mr Blair left for a whistle-stop tour of Moscow on his way to Islamabad and Oman.


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