London attacks: World leaders condemn assault, stand in solidarity with Britain

Britain's top counter-terrorism police officer, Mark Rowley, said the attacker, who was shot dead, was inspired by 'international terrorism'.
British Prime Minister Theresa May vows to move forward following a deadly attack in London that killed four people and injured at least 20, adding the country will never give in to terror.
A video of Westminster Bridge shows the moment a car speeds onto the pavement to run over pedestrians with a person seen jumping into the River Thames below.
British police officers work on Westminster Bridge, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on March 22, 2017, in the aftermath of a terror incident.
British police officers work on Westminster Bridge, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on March 22, 2017, in the aftermath of a terror incident. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - World leaders unanimously condemned the attack in the heart of London by a man who was shot dead by armed police, with many saying they stand with Britain.

At least five people - including the attacker - were killed and more than 40 injured in the attack outside parliament on Wednesday (March 22) when a man mowed down pedestrians with a car and then leapt out and stabbed a police officer.

Here are the reactions so far from world leaders:

- Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany stood "firmly and resolutely alongside Britons in the struggle against all forms of terrorism" while President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said "in these grave moments, we Germans feel very close to the British people." .

Berlin mayor Michael Müller expressed his solidarity with the citizens of London: “Especially in times like these, it is important that friends stand together."

- France: President Francois Hollande sent a message of "solidarity" and "support to the British people", saying France could identify with their pain after the attack, in which three French high school students were also wounded. "France, which has been hit so hard in recent times, knows what the British people are suffering today," he said.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted: "Solidarity with our British friends, horribly attacked, full support for the injured French students, their families and their friends."

- United States: The White House condemned the attack and pledged "the full support of the US government in responding to the attack and bringing those to justice who are responsible," spokesman Sean Spicer said at a briefing.

President Donald Trump spoke by phone to British Prime Minister Theresa May to offer his condolences and to praise the effective response of UK security services. Mr Trump pledged the "full co-operation and support" of the US government in bringing those responsible for the attack to justice, the White House said in a statement.

- Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "Our thoughts are with the victims of today's attack in London and their families. Canadians remain united with the people of the UK. " .

- European Union: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the attack left him "highly emotional". In Brussels to commemorate the one-year anniversary of attacks on the main airport and a metro station, Mr Juncker said "the fact that exactly on the same day something similar happened in London, and to London, is really putting me in the situation of someone who does not have... enough words to express how I am deeply feeling."

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: "My thoughts are with the victims of the Westminster attack. Europe stands firm with the UK against terror and ready to help".

- Russia: President Vladimir Putin emphasised in a message to the British leader that the global community should unite its efforts in the fight against "forces of terror" that are growing "increasingly cunning." "It is obvious that in order to confront the terrorist threat, a real unification of the efforts of all members of the world community is required," said Mr Putin.

Speaking on Russian television, Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova sent Moscow's "condolences" and said Russia felt Britain's pain. "We consider it an evil to which it is necessary to fight collectively. In this moment, as always, our hearts are with Britons and we share their pain". 

- The Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Dutch television he was shocked by the "horrific" news and said: "The city is in our hearts. We are following the situation closely, and are in contact with the British authorities." .

- Italy: Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who observed a moment of silence at the start of a meeting with Social Democratic lawmakers, expressed his "condolences" and said: "Italy and the United Kingdom remain side-by-side in our condemnation and firm response to all forms of terrorism".

- Belgium: "Our condolences are with those who mourn and all who are affected in London," Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted. "Belgium stands with U.K. in fight against terror." .

- Turkey: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasised that "Turkey feels and shares deeply in the United Kingdom's pain" and that it stood in "solidarity" with Britain "in the fight against terrorism". Mr Erdogan had earlier warned Europeans in a speech that "no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully," as a crisis between Ankara and the EU showed no signs of abating.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called terrorism "a global catastrophe" on Turkish television, adding: "All countries should come together on the terror issue and fight together against" it.

- Greece: "We express our solidarity with the British people on today's indiscriminate attack," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted.

- Spain: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted: "Spain stands with the British people. I condemn the attack in the vicinity of Westminster, London. Solidarity with the victims." .

- Portugal: "This attack clearly shows the priorities on which Europe must concentrate. It's only when we are united that we have the capacity to face these threats," said Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

- Australia: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the assault was an attack on "freedom and democracy everywhere". "But we will never, ever let the terrorists win. We will defeat and destroy them on the battlefield, we will defeat and defy them at home," he said. "We will never change the way we live. We will never let them divide us." .

- Qatar: Qatar stressed its rejection of violence "in all its forms" and its support for the UK government "in all the measures it takes to maintain the country's security." .

- Venezuela: Socialist President Nicolas Maduro expressed "full support for the people of London and our absolute rejection of all forms of terrorism." "Enough terrorism, enough war, enough violence. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and support the victims and their families," he said in televised comments.

- China: Premier Li Keqiang said he and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had discussed the attack as they met in Canberra. "Together, we send our condolences to the prime minister of the UK and together we condemn terrorism and we stand against all forms of terrorism.''

- Israel: Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said: "Israel expresses its deep shock at the terror attack in London and its solidarity with the victims and with the people and government of Great Britain. Terror is terror wherever it occurs and we will fight it relentlessly."

- Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said: “Horrified by the images from London. My thoughts are with our British friends."

- Lithuania: President Dalia Grybauskaitė said: “Terrorism – weapon of cowards. Strongly condemn gruesome terrorist attack at the heart of Westminster.”

- Kenya: Foreign Affairs Minister Amina Mohamed tweeted: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and friends of the brutal terrorist attack in London."

- India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India stands with Britain in the fight against terror. "Deeply saddened by the terror attack in London. At this difficult moment, India stands with UK in the fight against terrorism," Mr Modi tweeted.

- New Zealand: Prime Minister Bill English strongly condemned the attack outside Britain's Parliament. Speaking to reporters in Rotorua, he said he had written to Mrs May to express support for her government and to offer his country's condolences to the victim's families.