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Sunday, 7 October, 2001, 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK
Military strikes: Key quotes
As military strikes begin against targets in Afghanistan, Western leaders and key figures in the region have been giving their reaction.

"In this conflict there is no neutral ground, there can be no peace in a world of terror... We did not ask for this mission but we will fulfil it."

US President George Bush

"They were given the choice of siding with justice, or siding with terror. They chose terror."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Afghanistan's ruling Taleban

"These attacks, which have been launched regardless of the world public opinion, especially the Muslim nations, will damage the innocent and oppressed Afghans and are unacceptable."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman

"At this difficult, solemn and dramatic moment, all Europe stands steadfast with the United States and its coalition allies to pursue the fight against terrorism."

European Commission President Romano Prodi

"This is going to be a prolonged, sustained effort over several days."

US Pentagon official

"We are ready for jihad."

Rehmatullah Kakazada, the consul-general for Afghanistan's ruling Taleban

"America was hit by God in one of its softest spots. America is full of fear from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that."

Prime suspect Osama Bin Laden speaking in a film reported to have been made on Sunday

"We support the Afghan people against the al-Qaeda, a foreign presence in their lands, and the Taleban regime that supports them."

Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary

"The struggle against terrorism is a complex and merciless fight that is taking place on many fronts."

French President Jacques Chirac

"The international community is united that the threat to international peace and security created by terrorist actions must be countered by all means - in accordance with the charter of the United Nations."

Russian Foreign Ministry

"Italy is on the side of the United States and of all those who are committed to the fight against terrorism."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

"It remains our hope that the US and allied action remains clearly targeted to achieve the aims identified by the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions."

Pakistan Foreign Ministry

"The coalition is simply seeking justice for the evil carried out."

UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith

"Countries which value democracy and freedom must take action to defend democracy and freedom."

Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish

"I regret that this crisis could not have been resolved peacefully. But given the obstinacy of the Taleban Government there was no other option."

Charles Kennedy, UK Liberal Democrat leader

"We are not convinced that the due process of law has been followed or that the guilt for the terrible events of 11 September have been satisfactorily established."

A spokesman for the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

See also:

07 Oct 01 | South Asia
US begins military strike
07 Oct 01 | Americas
Bush opens new front
07 Oct 01 | UK
UK forces join attack
04 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair puts case against Bin Laden
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