By Tom Westcott.
London, 13 September:
As speculation grows that Tuesday’s slaying of US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other American diplomats was . . .[restrict]an Al-Qaeda-inspired revenge attack, politicians across the globe, continued to unite in their condemnation of the murders.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China “strongly condemned” the Benghazi assault: “We are shocked at attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi that caused the death and injury of a number of people, including the US ambassador.” Lei said.
The Canadian Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, said the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a “deplorable and shocking act of violence”. The Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, added that Canada will be re-evaluating the security situation for its five diplomats who staff the Canadian Embassy in Tripoli.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: “We decisively condemn all attacks on foreign diplomatic representations and their employees as manifestations of terrorism that can have no justification.”
However, opinion has been a little more candid on Twitter, where Russia’s contrary view of western intervention in the Middle East is being played out. Aleksei Pushkov, the head of Russia’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted: “Under Qaddafi they didn’t kill diplomats. Obama and Clinton are in shock? What did they expect – ‘Democracy’? Even bigger surprises await them in Syria.”
The United Arab Emirates has joined many Muslim nations in condemning the attacks. As well as calling for thorough investigations into the incident, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded the Libyan government of its duty to abide by all the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who is on an official visit to Brussels, also condemned the attacks on the US embassies in both Benghazi and Cairo. He extended his condolences to the families of Chris Stevens and the three other embassy staff who lost their lives on Tuesday. He added that Islam did not condone the killing of innocent people, quoting from the Quran: “Whoever kills a soul, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.”
William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, travelling in the Middle East, said the crime was “the sort of attack that won’t achieve anything”. His boss, Prime Minister David Cameron, called the attack “senseless”.
The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Aston, described the incident as “despicable” and demanded that the Libyan authorities “take all necessary measures without delay to protect the lives of all diplomats and foreign staff” working in the country.
Laurent Fabius, the new French Foreign Minister, released a statement saying: “My first thoughts go to the families and friends of the victims, to whom I extend my condolences, as well as to all American people.”
He continued: “The United States supported, together with us, from its inception, the Libyan pro-democracy movement which led to the overthrow of the tyrannical Qaddafi regime. It can count on our wholehearted solidarity. Ambassador Stevens and his team worked to strengthen the rule of law, democracy and peace.”
Whilst “utterly condemning” the terrorist attack, Fabius said: “Despite this tragedy, we must not abandon the goal of building a democratic and free Libya.”
The Libya Herald correspondent in Bangladesh, Rahman Jahangir writes from Dhaka: “In a condolence message, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said: ‘Bangladesh rejects such cowardice and mindless killings in the name of religion or any other cause or ideology, and denounces terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.’ Ms Moni added: ‘We express our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families of Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues’.” [/restrict]