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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 12:38 GMT
World leaders lament shuttle disaster
Astronaut Kalpana Chawla in front of shuttle image
India's pride and joy Kalpana Chawla

Leaders from around the world have expressed their sadness and sent their condolences after the deaths of the seven astronauts in the Columbia shuttle disaster.

Their sacrifice in the cause of human exploration was a dominant theme in the messages.


Chinese President Jiang Zemin

The Chinese Government and people deeply regret the disaster and the death of Columbia's crew. However, humanity should continue and make further progress in space exploration despite the setback.


Russian President Vladimir Putin

It is with profound sorrow that Russia learnt of the tragic death of the crew of the Columbia spacecraft.

Russia deeply empathises with your country over the tragedy that befell you. We understand only too well the grief that came to the families of the dead astronauts.

These brave people sacrificed their lives exploring the dangerous entity that is space in the name of peace, science and civilization's progress. We will always remember them.


French President Jacques Chirac

The loss of the space shuttle Columbia and of the seven members of its crew on their return to Earth is a terrible tragedy.

On behalf of the French people, ever the friends of the American people, I wish to convey to you the profound emotion and the solidarity felt by all my compatriots at this time of ordeal.


Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee

We mourn with you in this moment of grief and our hearts go out to the families of the bright young men and women who worked on this spacecraft.

For us in India, the fact that one of them was an Indian-born woman adds a special poignancy to the tragedy.


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

Representing the Japanese Government and people, I pray for the souls of the crew members who proceeded with the mission courageously and would like to express my heartfelt condolences to their families and the people of the United States


Australian Prime Minister John Howard

Space exploration is a great universal endeavour and the United States in particular has carried it forward on behalf of all mankind. And we therefore feel particularly for those involved in the space effort in that country.


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Belusconi

I am deeply shocked by today's tragedy. Once again the United States is paying a high price for the progress of Mankind.

On behalf of the Italian government and people, my feelings are with you and I convey condolence and solidarity to the families of the victims and to the American people.


European Commission president Romano Prodi

This is surely the ultimate sacrifice in the service of progress and of science - in this instance, we can really say, of Mankind.


South Korean President Kim Dae-jung

On behalf of the South Korean Government and people, I pray for the souls of the crew members on the space shuttle and would like to express my heartfelt condolences to their families.


Cuban Foreign Ministry

The Cuban Government and people wish to express their sincere condolences to the US Government and the American people following the tragedy.

The Cuban people join in the pain and anguish felt today by the American people for the tragic loss of several of their sons and daughters.

At this painful moment, we wish to relay, particularly to the relatives of the deceased astronauts, the solidarity of the Cuban people and government.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

02 Feb 03 | Americas
02 Feb 03 | Americas
01 Feb 03 | Americas
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