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EU Backs US Military Action, Commits to Aid - 2001-10-09


European Union foreign ministers Monday are strongly backing the U.S. military action against terrorist targets in Afghanistan, while also committing aid to help with the humanitarian crisis there.

An EU statement declared full solidarity with the United States for, what it called, action taken in self-defense under a key U.N. Security Council resolution. The statement says the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11 are an assault on tolerant and democratic multicultural societies.

The EU says the military actions launched October 7 were carefully targeted and are not an attack against Islam or the people of Afghanistan. The 15 EU member states affirmed they are ready to act in support of the United States and the EU remains in close consultation with Washington.

Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, says there is no question about the commitment against terrorism. "Let there be no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, about our resolve to fully and unreservedly play our full part - and take our responsibility - in the fight against terrorism," he said.

According to the EU statement, all information points clearly to the responsibility of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network for the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

The EU says that Afghanistan's Taleban rulers have refused to take responsibility for handing over those suspected in the attacks so they can be brought to justice. The statement goes on to say the Taleban regime is now facing the consequences of its action.

The EU says the Afghan people deserve a government that is truly representative of its people and the United Nations should play a role in this process.

The EU statement also stresses the importance of humanitarian action to combat food shortages and to help the large number of Afghan refugees. The EU says it has decided to make available more than $280 million to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

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