- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Syria condemns attacks
Syrian Ambassador Rustom Zoubi yesterday condemned the "ugly and horrible" attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and promised Syria's help to "root out terrorism in all its forms."
Mr. Zoubi told Embassy Row that Syria "expresses its condolences [to the victims and their relatives] and strong denunciation" of the attacks.
"We also express our profound sympathy for the loss of life from these ugly and horrible attacks," he said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad sent a letter to President Bush, offering condolences and denouncing the attacks. Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa sent a similar letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Mr. Zoubi cautioned against a "rush to [the] conclusion" that Arab terrorists were responsible. However, if Osama bin Laden, the Saudi dissident suspected of planning the attacks, is responsible, "he should pay," the ambassador said.
"The Arab countries are not responsible for him," Mr. Zoubi said, referring to bin Laden's presence in Afghanistan. "He does not represent the Arab countries. He represents himself."
Mr. Zoubi rejected the State Department's description of Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism.
"We are against terrorism," he said. "We denounce all terrorists. Syria is ready to cooperate to uproot terrorism in all of its forms."
The State Department includes Syria on a list of nations accused of sponsoring terrorists. It says Syria provides "safe haven and support to several terrorist groups."
Mr. Zoubi said that is a "very old story" and "there is no proof about that."
"Syria has nothing to do with terrorism," he said. "We are a civilized country. We call on all countries to be united in the fight against terrorism.
"Anyone or any group that is behind these actions should be brought to justice."

Assault on civilization
Russian Ambassador Yury V. Ushakov yesterday denounced the terrorist assault as attacks "directed against not only America, but also all of modern civilization."
Expressing his "deep sympathy for the Americans who have suffered in this horrible tragedy," he noted that Russia has "also experienced the evil of terrorism in recent years."
"For this reason, Russians have a special sense of personal identification with America's shattered families, heroic rescue personnel and shocked citizens," he said in a statement.
Mr. Ushakov urged a "new partnership" of democratic nations in the fight against terrorism.
"Russia and America must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defend the foundations of 21st-century civilization," he said.
As diplomats here continued to recoil from the attacks, the ambassador from Cyprus sent messages of condolences to New York Gov. George E. Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Ambassador Erato Kozakou Marcoullis expressed her government's and her "personal abhorrence and strong condemnation for the cowardly, terrorist attacks."
Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, meanwhile, said he learned of the attacks when he landed in Montreal after his plane was diverted from New York.
"I strongly condemn these cowardly, horrific acts," he said in a letter to President Bush.
Costa Rican Ambassador Jaime Daremblum canceled an independence day celebration scheduled Saturday and ordered flags at Costa Rican diplomatic missions flown at half-staff.
The Lebanese Embassy canceled a reception tonight for the American Task Force for Lebanon.

Off to Lithuania
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus yesterday was one of the first civilians to fly out of the United States since the Tuesday terrorist attacks.
Mr. Adamkus, along with by U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania John Tefft and Latvian Foreign Minister Indulis Berzinis, were flown aboard a U.S. Air Force plane from Andrews Air Force Base.
"The embassy was told it was the first trans-Atlantic flight from the United States with civilians on it" since the attacks, said Lithuanian Embassy spokesman Rolandas Kacinskas.


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