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Europe Expresses Support for Afghanistan Attacks - 2001-10-07

European nations, led by France and Germany, have expressed strong support for the U.S.-led attacks against military installations in Afghanistan and training camps of suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. France says it will take part in the military operation, while Germany is expressing unreserved support for the U.S. action.

French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were informed by President Bush earlier Sunday about the imminence of the attacks against targets in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chirac went on television after the attacks began to tell the French people that French forces will participate in the U.S.-led military strikes. Mr. Chirac says French forces will take part in the operation. He says French naval vessels are already involved. He says the United States asked France for a military commitment, and France will fulfill its part in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair say Germany, too, has pledged forces as the operation unfolds.

In a statement issued Sunday, Chancellor Schroeder did not allude to that commitment, but said Germany supports the U.S.-led attacks without reservation. He said he assured President Bush in a telephone conversation of Germany's unconditional solidarity with the United States.

In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says his country stands alongside the United States in the fight against terrorism. He has placed Italy on a state of alert.

The Greek government has also expressed support for the United States, saying the military strike in Afghanistan is a justified response to terrorism.

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer says he told U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney he hoped innocent civilians would be spared during the U.S. strikes. But Mr. Sezer also told Mr. Cheney Turkey supports U.S. efforts to fight international terrorism, and hopes the U.S. operation will be successful.

In Brussels, the European Union's top executive, Romano Prodi, says all of Europe stands beside the United States in its response to the terrorist attacks last month on New York and Washington. Mr. Prodi says the EU will intensify its aid effort to help those affected by the fighting.