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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
European press review
Press graphic
One French paper says that while it is convenient to blame Tuesday's attacks in the US on one man, Osama Bin Laden, the truth is likely to be much more complicated than that,

Another French paper calls for action to prevent the attacks dragging the world into a "global recession".

A German paper says that the events have put an end to American "isolationism and unilateralism", while an Austrian newspaper calls for the US to show continued restraint.

In Paris, Liberation says that Osama Bin Laden has been put forward as the "one and only person" behind the 11 September attacks for "reasons of communication".

"Being able to name the person behind the tragedies in New York and Washington is, in a way, reassuring," it says.

"The truth promises to be infinitely more complicated, and the American leaders know that well", the paper adds.

It says that Mr Bin Laden's network would no doubt continue to function if he was killed and that it stretches far beyond Afghanistan.

The paper says that the involvement in the attacks of other terrorist organisations, and even state-controlled services, cannot be ruled out.

The paper says that a "real policy" on Israel and the Palestinians will have to be developed, along with international co-operation in the fight against terrorism and its financing.

"If that doesn't happen," the paper concludes, "the spectre of an even more devastating type of terrorism which could be chemical, bacteriological and even nuclear will take shape."

Call to prevent recession

"Like the fight against terrorism, the fight against its consequences must be a common one," says an editorial in Paris's Le Monde.

It adds that "everything must be done to avoid a 'global recession' in the wake of the tragedies in New York and Washington".

"The 11 September attacks happened at the worst possible time for the economic and financial morale of the Americans," the paper adds.

"There is a major risk of an American stock market dive," it says, adding: "This would cause a recession across the Atlantic, with incalculable consequences on the other economies in Europe, and in Japan, but which would no doubt be even worse in Third World countries."

The paper welcomes the agreement by the world's biggest banks on how to get the markets going again today and that of central banks to make available all the liquid assets that economies need.

But it calls for further action and says the aim must be to "stabilize markets, reassure investors and households".

US told to think of others

Germany's Berliner Zeitung writes that Bush's new strategy has already been overtaken before it could be applied.

No longer do the Americans want to "go it alone", no longer do they want to brave their enemies armed with technically sophisticated weapons, writes the paper. Gone are "isolationism and unilateralism", the paper continues.

"Bush knows the American public is behind him", the paper says, and "he is sure of the approval of the western world".

"Just as at the beginning of the Gulf War when father Bush brought about a war coalition, such an alliance is now important for the son", it continues.

The paper says it will soon become clear how long the agreement will hold and how effective it is. It all depends on how the US defines its war aims and to what degree they take other nations' interests into consideration, it says.

The "war against terrorism" is no licence to kill, it says, adding that even in Europe there are reservations about the US's policy.

Call for continued restraint

Austria's Der Standard writes that there are a lot of people who have no doubt the USA's reaction to Tuesday's attacks will be "inappropriate and counterproductive".

This, the paper says, can only be called "anti-American resentment".

The paper, however, thinks that the "crisis-handling by the Americans in the first days after the attacks has been controlled and rational to a high degree ", and it hopes that it will stay that way.

Until now, the paper continues, no important American politician has made a direct link between Islam and terror. Although the "angry mob" used rifles to shoot at mosques, the politicians warned against attacking any Muslims living in the US.

But the danger that the situation will degenerate into a completely irrational one, is enormous, says the paper. In light of this, one can call the way the Americans are coping with the crisis encouraging, the paper concludes.

Middle East seen as key

Le Temps in Switzerland says of any military action that takes place that: "When the weapons start to speak, it will not be about justice."

It adds that: "The violence and blood, much more so than in other conflicts, could very quickly appear unjustifiable and unacceptable."

America's "new enemies", the paper warns, "will not take any blows without returning them".

Calling for fundamental changes in the Middle East, the paper says: "The region will not be calm while the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians has not been dealt with seriously, and while the Palestinians don't have a viable and recognized state," it adds.

"The stirring up of terror will continue for as long as the West tolerates or maintains monarchies without legitimacy, military dictators and pseudo-democratic authoritarians in the Arab-Muslim world," it says.

"If these two conditions are fulfilled one day, Islam will perhaps manage to come out of its seclusion," it says.

Storm warning ahead

Predictably, the front page lead in Madrid's El Mundo is also on the aftermath of the attacks.

"Bush's men warn that the war will last several years and will be dirty," says the banner headline.

The paper adds that financial analysts have warned that Wall Street values will fall by 10 per cent when the markets open there today.

"Storm warning" is how the front page headline in Le Soir in Brussels describes the threat of military action.

The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


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