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UN Issues Strongly-Worded Resolution Condemning Spain Train Bombings

The U.N. Security Council reacted quickly to the Madrid bombings, condemning them Thursday in a strongly-worded resolution. The resolution blames the terrorist group ETA for the attacks.

The brief resolution was unanimously adopted during a five minute session, just hours after news of the explosions broke. It condemns the bombings in the strongest terms, but then goes on to say the attacks were "perpetrated by the terrorist group ETA".

The council president, French Ambassador Jean Marc de La Sabliere, said the Spanish government had specifically asked for the ETA reference.

"The Spanish government stated that, and the Spanish delegation has asked the council to put this element in the resolution, and members of the council this morning accepted it," he said.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said Spanish delegates had argued that the most likely motive was a desire by Basque separatists to disrupt Sunday's elections.

The Spanish government feels this has the hallmarks of an ETA attack. They tell us there had been other threats in previous days and weeks in runup to elections this Sunday," he said. "There had even been some attacks that were intercepted recently, so it is judgment of government of Spain these attacks were carried out by ETA, and we have no information to contrary."

The Spanish delegate, Ana Maria Menendez, made a brief statement expressing appreciation for what she called the council's "unequivocal condemnation" of the attacks. But she walked away from reporters' questions about the possibility of an al-Qaida link to the bombings.

Spain is currently a member of the Security Council, where it has been a strong supporter of U.S. positions on Iraq, both before and after last year's war. The Spanish ambassador is also chairman of the council's Counterterrorism Committee.

Secretary General Kofi Annan also expressed shock and indignation at the attacks. Speaking to reporters, he avoided comments about who may have been responsible. But he said, regardless of how one defines terrorism, it is morally unacceptable.