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G-8 Condemns London Explosions, Continues Summit

The deadly explosions in London have transformed the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. Leaders of the seven largest industrial nations and Russia who gathered to talk about peaceful pursuits, have found their meeting overshadowed by the bloodshed.

The members of the Group of Eight arrived at Gleneagles prepared to talk about climate change and aid to Africa.

Instead, they found themselves responding again to violence and consumed by the bloody images emanating from London.

As they gathered for a working lunch with leaders of developing countries, the G-8 closed ranks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Tony Blair, left, and George W. Bush
They faced the cameras in an unbroken line along with their guests. President Bush stood to one side of the British leader, French President Jacques Chirac to the other. Mr. Blair spoke for them all.

"We condemn utterly these barbaric attacks," said Tony Blair. "We send out profound condolences to the victims and their families. All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism. Those responsible have no respect for human life."

A short time later, the prime minister headed back to London - his helicopter lifting off from the grass of the Gleneagles resort.

He said he would return later in the day, to help the G-8 continue its important work. He stressed the meetings would go on in his absence.

But the mood had changed. There was the initial shock, followed by sadness and then determination. Around the resort, officials, reporters, and even the people who served the food and drove the buses huddled around television sets to catch the latest news from London.

The G-8 participants broke from their work for 45 minutes or so in order to consult with top aides. Emerging from the summit site as Mr. Blair's helicopter flew overhead, President Bush spoke of the contrast between the men in Gleneagles, and those who set off the London explosions.

"On the one hand, we have people here who are working to alleviate poverty, to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS, working on ways to have a clean environment," said president Bush. "And on the other hand, you have got people killing innocent people. And the contrast could not be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill."

The president said the United States and its allies would not yield to the terrorists. Prime Minister Blair said simply, "We shall prevail and they will not."