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Blair Calls for Support in Anti-terror War - 2001-10-30

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called on his countrymen to rally behind the military campaign against international terrorism in Afghanistan. Mr. Blair spoke Tuesday before the Welsh assembly.

Mr. Blair used his speech to remind Britons why their country is backing the U.S. - led military strikes against Afghanistan-based terrorists.

He recalled the horror of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, which killed thousands.

Mr. Blair said accused terrorist ringleader Osama bin Laden, his al-Qaida network, and his Taleban backers cannot be appeased. "We have a group of people in Afghanistan who are the sworn enemies of everything the civilized world stands for, who have killed once, on a vast scale, and will kill again unless stopped," he said.

Mr. Blair said the U.S. - led coalition is determined to prevail over radical Islamic terrorists. "We will not stop until our mission is complete," he said. "We will not flinch from doing what is necessary to complete it. We will not fail. And we will do all this, because we believe in our values of justice, tolerance and respect for all, regardless of race, religion or creed, just as passionately as they believe in the fanatical hatred of Christians, Jews, and indeed, any Muslims who do not share their perverse view of Islam."

Mr. Blair spoke as a new opinion poll shows a decline in British public support for the military campaign.

The poll, published by the Guardian newspaper, indicates that two out of three Britons still support the war effort.

However, a similar poll three weeks ago found that three-quarters of the public backed the campaign.

British officials say the drop in support has come as the media focus has shifted from the initial terrorist attacks against the United States to the civilian deaths in Afghanistan, caused by stray U.S. bombs.