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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Scotland's leaders united in sorrow
MSPs in the Scottish chamber
MSPs passed a motion of condolence
Scotland's political leaders spoke as one when they made public their sorrow for the victims of the US air attacks.

Normal business was suspended at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday as MSPs gathered to pass a motion of sympathy to those affected by the American atrocity.

The parliament's Presiding Officer Sir David Steel lead the special session by saying the act has been motivated by "demonic barbarism".

World Trade Center on fire
The World Trade Center was destroyed
MSPs then held a held a minute's silence and listened to short statements by party leaders before adjourning for the day.

First Minister Henry McLeish said Scotland had watched the events in horror and disbelief but, quoting George Orwell, he said the forces of terrorism must never win.

He added that the "unforgivable carnage" had happened on a bright morning in America".

Listening in the VIP gallery was an stony-faced Liane Dorsey, Consul General in Edinburgh to the United States.

'Bewildered'

The Scottish National Party's John Swinney then rose to his feet and expressed his deepest sympathies to the people of America over the "truly awful tragedy".

"Yesterday's atrocity in the United States could only be watched on television with horror, with shock and with bewilderment," he told the parliament.

Henry McLeish
Henry McLeish: "Watched the events in horror"
The SNP leader acknowledged that an uncertain period undoubtedly lay ahead in international affairs.

He added: "But in that uncertain time, I am confident that the interests of humanity and democracy will prevail over the forces of terror.

"We owe it to our human and democratic values to make that the case.

"We have been reminded just how fragile human life can be at the mercy of terrorists.

"Only time, patience and exhibiting the best of human values will unravel the full consequences of yesterday's attacks."

Scourge of terrorism

Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie described Tuesday's atrocity as a "cowardly and murderous attack".

John Swinney, SNP
John Swinney bows his head during the minute's silence
He added: "In the face of this new outbreak of barbarity, the civilised world must unite to defeat the scourge of terrorism.

"There must be no hiding place for those who commit such atrocities. Those states which sponsor acts of terrorism or harbour terrorists as instruments of their foreign policy must be held to account for their actions."

Mr McLetchie also said that democracies across the world must redouble their efforts to fight terrorism.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace said it was still difficult to comprehend the "cold, calculated barbarity" of the events.

david steel, presiding
David Steel: Leads the tributes
He said the strong ties between Scotland and America meant that the thoughts of everyone in this country were now with those in the US.

"America has been a loyal friend of ours in great adversity and in the aftermath of such a terrible tragedy, I join others in expressing our deepest sorrow to the people of America.

"We also share with the United States a long established democratic tradition. Mindless, callous terrorism is an affront to all who value democracy and liberty.

"Now is a time for us to renew our commitment to these values and strengthen our resolve and our determination not to be undermined by those who trade in terrorism."

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Political Editor Brian Taylor
"Thoughts inevitably drifted to the images of horror."

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See also:

11 Sep 01 | Americas
US rocked by terrorist attacks
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair speaks of 'shock and outrage'
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