World leaders breathe sighs of relief over bin Laden hit

Merkel, Cameron, Bush, join chorus of international leaders celebrating Taliban leader's death; Bloomberg says he hopes dramatic killing would comfort those who lost loved ones on 911.

By REUTERS
May 2, 2011 11:09
3 minute read.
Angela Merkel

Merkel reuters 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined a chorus of international leaders on Monday, telling US President Barack Obama that she was relieved about the killing of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by US forces, according to a statement released by her spokesman .

"The United States had succeeded in making a decisive strike against al Qaida, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said. But the chancellor warned that international terrorism has not yet been defeated.

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"Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her relief about this news to US President Barack Obama," Seibert said.

"Osama bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people...The forces of peace were successful last night. International terror has not been defeated. We'll all have to remain vigilant."

The death of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden will bring "great relief" across the world, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday.

"Osama bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen - for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British. It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror," Cameron said in a statement.



"The news that Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world," he said.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks and famously said he wanted Osama bin Laden dead or alive, on Sunday called the death of the al Qaida leader a "momentous achievement."

President Barack Obama called Bush in Dallas at 9:04 p.m. central time to inform him that bin Laden was dead and they spoke for four minutes, a Bush spokesman said.

The Sept. 11 attacks were a defining moment of Bush's presidency. He launched the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden spanned the rest of his presidency.

"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001," Bush said in a statement.

"The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said.

In New York, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he hoped the dramatic killing would comfort those who lost loved ones that day.

"The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation - and a tribute to the millions of men and women in our armed forces and elsewhere who have fought so hard for our nation," he said in a statement.

Russia's Kremlin released their own statement, which said, "Revenge is inescapable for all terrorists. Only a joint struggle against global terrorism can bring a result," it added. "Russia is ready to increase its cooperation."

The Palestinian Authority also issued a statement on Monday, saying the killing was "good for the cause of peace".

"Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods - the violent methods - that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world," PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said.

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