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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
US finds allies in anti-terrorism war
Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden is both the US and Russia's sworn enemy
Both friends and rivals of the US have declared war on terrorism in the wake of Tuesday's devastating attack on New York and Washington.

"We're building a strong coalition to go after these perpetrators, but, more broadly, to go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world," said US Secretary General Colin Powell.

Russia and Nato issued a joint statement on Thursday declaring that those responsible for the strikes would be punished.

"Nato and Russia are united in their resolve not to leave unpunished those responsible for such inhuman acts," said a statement from the Nato-Russia joint council which was meeting in Brussels.

Kremlin
The Kremlin flew its flags at half-mast as a mark of respect
In an unprecedented move, Nato had earlier declared that Tuesday's attack on the United States could be considered an attack on the entire 19-nation alliance.

Nato Secretary-General George Robertson said this meant that the United States had support from its Nato partners for military action if it was determined that the attacks had been directed from abroad.

"An attack on one is an attack on all," he said after Nato decided for the first time in its 52-year history to invoke Article Five - the mutual defence clause.

Reservations

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has stressed that the fight against terrorism should not be limited to North America and US allies in Europe, but should include Muslim nations.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, whose country is one of only three to recognise Taleban rule in Afghanistan, has promised "unstinted co-operation".

Pakistan has helped the US in the past, extraditing Ramzi Yousef, accused of carrying out an attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

But King Abdullah II of Jordan, traditionally a US ally, has said the attacks would not have taken place had the Middle East problem been resolved.

Beijing policeman diverts cyclist approaching US Embassy
China has upped security around US facilities
China has signalled its support for fighting terrorism - but up to a point.

President Jiang Zemin said China was ready to "strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the US and the international community in combating all manner of terrorist violence".

But Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya urged the US to consult other countries before taking action through Nato.

Times change

Outside Nato, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to help.

Russian Foreign Ministry adviser Yevgeny Bazhanov explained to the BBC's Today programme that Moscow was itself interested in tracking down Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, a major suspect in the attacks:

"Bin Laden fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 80s, he fights against Russia in Chechnya... so of course we are ready to fight him as much as possible".


We are ready to fight him [Bin Laden] as much as possible

Russian Foreign Ministry adviser Yevgeny Bazhanov

Ironically, it was the perceived threat from the Soviet Union which led to the signing of Nato's Article Five in April 1949 which commits Nato to assist any member who comes under attack.

It is now being applied in the wake of a very different scenario - a massive terrorist attack.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says Nato's resolution is of huge symbolic importance, designed to show that Washington's European allies share the sense of the gravity of the situation.

He says that given the secretive nature of counter-terrorist operations, Washington may well want to act alone.

But allied support could involve measures such as opening airspace or bases to US forces.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
NATO's Secretary-General Lord Robertson
"The foundation of a new co-operation... against the terrible attacks"
Russian Foreign Ministry adviser, Yevgeny Bazhanov
"We are ready to fight him, as much as possible"
Sergei Yastrzhambsky, Senior Aide to Pres. Putin
"These people represent a constant threat to many countries"
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