- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2001

'Unbelievably shocked'

British Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet President Bush today to discuss "everything that needs to be done short, medium and long term" to fight terrorism, the British ambassador said yesterday.

Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer said Mr. Blair is due in Washington this afternoon and will dine with the president and a few close aides.

"This is a working dinner with the minimum of protocol," Mr. Meyer said.

The reaction to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was "strong and instinctive by Tony Blair and strong and instinctive by the British public," Mr. Meyer said.

Mr. Blair has expressed the broadest support of any NATO ally, pledging troops and naval forces to back a possible U.S. military reaction. An opinion poll shows 79 percent of the British public also supports a military response.

"We believe very strongly that, having fought terrorism ourselves, that an attack on the United States is an attack on all of us," Mr. Meyer told Embassy Row.

Britain was also affected by the attacks on the twin towers, where up to 300 Britons worked, Mr. Meyer said. The ambassador is due in New York today for a memorial service before returning for the White House meeting. Mr. Blair is expected to attend if he arrives in time.

Mr. Blair's visit is part of an intense round of diplomacy he is conducting.

He met yesterday in London with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, had dinner last night in Berlin with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and was due to have breakfast today in Paris with French President Jacques Chirac, who was in Washington on Tuesday for talks with Mr. Bush.

Mr. Blair is due to fly to Brussels tomorrow for a breakfast meeting with leaders of the European Union.

Mr. Meyer was hosting a private visit by former British Prime Minister John Major on the day of the suicide hijackings.

Mr. Meyer, a former press spokesman for Mr. Major, said Mr. Major was "unbelievably shocked" by the attacks.

A word to Lebanon

The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon has delivered a diplomatic warning to the Lebanese government about sheltering groups listed on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

Ambassador William Battle, in a meeting at the Lebanese Foreign Ministry this week, set conditions for Lebanon to meet if it wants to cooperate in the U.S. war against terrorists.

Those include "the demand to seize terrorists, prosecute them and hand over or expel those who are wanted," a government source told the Agence France-Presse news service.

Mr. Battle told reporters that his message was part of the worldwide U.S. effort against terrorists.

"We are talking to all countries in the world and in the region and asking them for their thoughts and cooperation in the area of stamping out terrorism," he said.

"We have, as you know, a list of terrorist organizations in the United States that is updated every year, and there are organizations in Lebanon that are on that list."

The U.S. list includes Hezbollah, which is also a legal Lebanese political party. Lebanon considers those groups legitimate resistance fighters against Israel.

Saudi minister due

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Faisal is expected in Washington today for talks with State Department officials about the terrorist attacks against the United States.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to "cooperate fully" with the U.S. campaign against terrorism.

Canadian cooperation

The U.S. ambassador to Canada has called for a "new era" of cooperation in the fight against terrorism between the two countries with the longest undefended border in the world.

"We are looking to Canada for help," Ambassador Paul Cellucci told business leaders in Ottawa, the Canadian capital.

"What we want is what you want: a free and peaceful world. This will require new ways of doing things, new resources, new ideas and a new era of cooperation."

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced he will visit President Bush next week to discuss the potential responses to the terrorist attacks.

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