WASHINGTON, D.C. – British Prime Minister Tony Blair says his country supports “without hesitation” the U.S. battle against terrorism. Standing beside President Bush at the White House late Thursday, Mr. Blair recalled U.S. support for Britain during the darkest days of World War Two, and said he and the British people will now stand side-by-side with the United States in the looming conflict.
Mr. Blair called last week’s terrorist attacks in New York and Washington “brutal and horrific.” President Bush called Prime Minister Blair a “true friend” and thanked him for joining the U.S. coalition against terrorism.
Earlier Thursday, Mr. Blair was in New York City to attend a memorial service for British nationals killed when the twin World Trade Center towers were rammed by hijacked airliners.
Britain joins France, Australia and many other nations that have pledged to help the United States with various kinds of cooperation including military support, intelligence information and logistical support. Mr. Blair attended the New York City memorial service for some 300 British nationals victims killed in the terrorist attack.
Speaking at the gathering at St. Thomas Church in Manhattan, Mr. Blair said there is a profound sense of solidarity throughout the world, despite the the shock and disbelief from the attacks. He said the strong bond between Britain and the United States is even stronger now.
Also attending the memorial service were Mrs. Blair, former President Clinton, his wife Senator Clinton, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Earlier Thursday, Mr. Blair had a meeting in Paris with French President Jacques Chirac who had just returned from the United States. The two leaders said they will support any U.S. action they consider an effective response to last week’s attacks.
The French president was the first foreign leader to visit Mr. Bush after last week’s disaster.
Other foreign leaders have also been in Washington and New York this week to show their support for the United States in its war against terrorism.