BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Blair begins anti-terror talks
Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin on Wednesday evening
Blair and Schroeder stressed solidarity with the US
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair joined with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in pledging solidarity with the US fight against terrorism at the start of 60-hours of shuttle diplomacy.

Berlin was first stop on Wednesday evening for Mr Blair's hectic tour of four world capitals as he tries to build a coalition in the wake of the terror attacks on America.

It is with a real sense of solidarity that we stand here together tonight and say we give our total support to the people of the United States

Tony Blair
That effort appeared to be paying off as Mr Schroeder, standing alongside Mr Blair in Berlin, said Germany was prepared to give military, as well as political and economic, support to the US.

The two leaders continued their discussions over dinner before Mr Blair left for Paris where he will have breakfast with French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday morning.

He arrived at the city's Velizy airport just after midnight local time.

After meeting with President Chirac, Mr Blair will then fly on to America for talks with President George W Bush in Washington later in the day.

Show of solidarity

Speaking in Berlin, Mr Blair said: "It is with a real sense of solidarity that we stand here together tonight and say we give our total support to the people of the United States."

Last week's atrocities had cost German lives just as they had left more than 200 Britons dead, stressed Mr Blair, who will end his shuttle tour with an emergency EU summit in Brussels on Friday.
Blair's shuttle diplomacy
Tuesday - meeting with African leaders at Chequers, phone talks with Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin
Wednesday - talks in Berlin with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
Thursday morning - talks with President Chirac in Paris
Thursday - flies to Washington and New York
Friday - EU summit in Brussels

"What is remarkable is that there is a growing and strengthening coalition not just of support for the US and support for the measures that we need to take but also a recognition that the time has indeed come for us to take the action that's necessary against this evil of mass terrorism wherever it exists.

"The measures that we take have to be, of course, measures to make sure that those responsible for this atrocity are brought to account - but also measures that we agree at the level of the international community to take action in respect of every aspect of this phenomenon of mass terrorism."

Mr Schroeder echoed his sentiments, saying: "We very much agree we want to provide unswerving and strong solidarity with the US."

His words followed a vote in the German Parliament on Thursday to give military backing to the international campaign against terrorism.

Before leaving for Germany on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Blair and Irish Premier Bertie Ahern ended talks at Number 10 with a declaration of unity of purpose in tackling international terrorism.

'Would have killed more'

Mr Blair told reporters they were "absolutely of one mind" in their determination to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice and attack the machinery of mass terrorism.

Bertie Ahern, Irish Premier
Ahern met Blair in Downing Street
He stressed there were no moral limits to the terrorists' action and so the technical and practical possibilities of attacks had to be removed.

"If they could have killed even more people in America, they would have.

Mr Ahern said his government too gave its full support to the international effort against the terrorists.

"Our parliament yesterday unanimously stated, unequivocally, our support for the defeating of international terrorism, of coming to the root of where these people operate, and the terrible crimes they perpetrated against all humanity," he said.

Mr Blair's latest round of discussions follows telephone talks with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and a meeting with six African leaders on Tuesday.

Referring to his attempts to involve nations from all over world in uniting against the attacks on the US, Mr Blair added that support was growing for the "coalition against international terrorism".

He said it "encompasses nations in all continents, including Arab nations as well, that it has support from people of all faiths, and support from people of all democratic political persuasions".

Action on finances

Meanwhile, UK Chancellor Mr Brown on Wednesday outlined his wish for international action against the finances of terrorist organisations.

He said: "We want joint action to cut off the supply of funds to terrorists. They are being financed somewhere and get their money through bank accounts which we can stop."

The BBC's James Robbins
"Tony Blair is working to build the widest possible coalition supporting the United States"
Michael Ancram, Shadow Foreign Secretary
"This is an international campaign against international terrorism"
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories