Arab states condemn ‘terrorist’ Paris attacks

Across the Arab world, leaders have responded with shock and pledges of solidarity after Paris attacks

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Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt have been among the Arab states leading condemnations of the simultaneous attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and wounded 250 - 80 critically - on late Friday.

Saudi King Salman sent a cable of condolence to French President Francoise Hollande. “We learned about the pain and the sadness of the terrorist attacks in Paris…we express our condemnation for this repugnant terrorist act and offer our condolences to your excellency, the French people and the families of the victims,” said the king, who is currently in Turkey for the G20 Summit.

Prominent Saudi scholars also condemned the attacks.

Infographic: Seven deadliest attacks in Europe in decades
Infographic: Seven deadliest attacks in Europe in decades

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, also condemned Friday night's attacks as “heinous crimes” and said the UAE would “spare no effort... to fight terrorism in all its forms,” state news agency WAM reported.

On the sidelines of the Vienna talks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Paris attacks will impact the agenda of international talks on the Syria crisis.

"Those events which happened not far from here will absolutely cause adjustments in the agenda of today's event," Zakharova told reporters.


Meanwhile, Qatar’s foreign minister said the attacks violate all human and moral values.

"The state of Qatar, through its foreign minister, strongly condemns these heinous attacks that have struck the French capital causing so many victims," Khaled al-Attiyah said in a statement sent to Reuters by the embassy in Paris.

"These acts, which target stability and security in France are against all human and moral values," he added.

Jordan's King Abdullah, meanwhile, expressed "deep regret and sadness" over the Paris attacks, also pledging solidarity with France.

A soldier stands by victims in the10th district of Paris, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP)
A soldier stands by victims in the10th district of Paris, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered his condolences and “expressed his solidarity” with Paris, in a statement from the official news agency.

“Such terrorist attacks will not weaken the will of peace-loving countries,” Sisi was quoted as saying by a foreign ministry source.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, meanwhile, sent a “cable of condolence” to Hollande, condemning “these criminal acts of terrorism which run counter to all teachings of holy faith and humanitarian values.”

He reaffirmed Kuwait’s solidarity with the French people and government, saying Kuwait supports all measures France might take to protect its security against the terror attacks.

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa also offered his condolences and pledged solidarity with France.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the gun and bomb attacks, saying they showed the need for action against militants worldwide.

"We condemn and deplore the terrorist attacks in Paris, which emphasize that fighting terrorism calls for international efforts to eliminate it in all countries," Abadi said in a statement.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI also sent a message of condolence to Hollande.

The message read: "I offer my most saddened condolences to you, to the innocent victims’ families and to the entire French people as well as my earnest wishes of prompt recovery to the wounded.

"I would like to condemn in the strongest terms on behalf of the Moroccan people and in my own name these vile terrorist acts and express our full solidarity and support in this ordeal.”

The head of Sunni Islam's leading seat of learning, Cairo's Al-Azhar, on Saturday condemned "hateful" attacks in Paris.

"We denounce this hateful incident," Ahmed al-Tayyeb told a conference in comments broadcast by Egyptian state television. "The time has come for the world to unite to confront this monster."

Neighboring states Turkey and Iran also condemned the attack.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences after the attacks, calling for "a consensus of the international community against terrorism".

"As a country that knows very well the manner and consequences of terrorism, we understand perfectly the suffering that France is experiencing now," he said in a short televised statement.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani sent a message of condolence to French counterpart Francois Hollande on the shootings and bombings in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

Rowhani postponed what would have been the first visit to Europe by an Iranian president in 10 years after the attacksthat he described as "crimes against humanity."

Rowhani had been due to hold talks in Rome on Saturday with Pope Francis as well as Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi before traveling on to the French capital.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had been due to travel with Rowhani, told state television he would now instead head Iran's delegation to international talks on the Syrian conflict in Vienna.

Soccer fans leave the Stade de France stadium after an international friendly soccer match in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.  (AP)
Soccer fans leave the Stade de France stadium after an international friendly soccer match in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP)

Shock across the world

Across the world, leaders have also responded with shock and pledges of solidarity for France.

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning "barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks" involving assailants using guns and bombs on several venues, including the national sports stadium and a major music venue.

Divided on many issues, including on the war in Syria that has fueled Islamist violence, the United States and Russia both voiced their support in messages to French President Francois Hollande.

"Once again we've seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians," said U.S. President Barack Obama. "We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need."

"Those who think that they can terrorise the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong," Obama said.

هجمات باريس
هجمات باريس
People warm up under protective thermal blankets as they gather on a street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. reuters
People warm up under protective thermal blankets as they gather on a street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. reuters

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose foreign minister was attending a France-Germany soccer match with Hollande when the stadium was attacked, said, "I am deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.

"The German government is in contact with the French government and has passed on a message of sympathy and solidarity from the German people."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help."

Cameron convened a meeting of his government's emergency response
committee to discuss the attacks.

Britain's terrorism threat level stands at "severe", the second highest category which means a militant attack is considered highly likely.

Cameron will chair the meeting of the committee, known as Cobra, later on Saturday in London, where at the French embassy, the flag had been lowered to fly at half-mast.

Moscow called on Saturday for the international community to unite in its fight against terrorism.

"This tragedy has become another testimony of terrorism's barbarity, which poses a challenge to human civilization," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram to French counterpart Francois Hollande, according to the Kremlin.

"It is clear that the real unification of the international community's efforts is needed for an effective fight against this evil."

Putin added that Russia was ready to "closely cooperate" with France in its investigation of the attacks.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Saturday the spate of bloody attacks had given new meaning to global efforts to solve the war in Syria.

Some 20 countries and world bodies are meeting in Vienna in a bid to end the nearly five-year conflict that has left 250,000 dead, sparked a refugee crisis in Europe and given rise ISIS group which has terrorized many nations at the table.

(With Agencies)

"It's another sad day and the meeting we are having in Vienna today is taking another kind of meaning," said Mogherini as she arrived for the meeting.

"The countries sitting around the table have almost all experienced the same pain, the same terror, the same shock over the last weeks," she said, referring to Paris, Lebanon, Russia, Egypt, Turkey.

Infographic: Mapping the Paris attacks
Infographic: Mapping the Paris attacks