British PM says bin Laden's death a 'great relief'

3rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday hailed news of Osama bin Laden's death, saying it would "bring great relief to people across the world".

"It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror," Cameron said in a statement.

"Osama bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen -- for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British.

"This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism. Their work will continue.

"I congratulate President Obama and those responsible for carrying out this operation," he added.

The British leader later spoke to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and vowed to "work extremely closely" with both countries to "tackle the terrorist threat from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban".

Cameron late Monday chaired a 45-minute meeting of the government's emergency committee, COBRA, in London.

During the meeting, the prime minister updated senior cabinet ministers on the operation and "discussed the potential impacts of the incident", a spokesman for the leader's office said in statement.

The Al-Qaeda mastermind was killed Sunday in a firefight with covert US forces in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, northeast of the capital Islamabad.

His death marks the biggest triumph yet in the 10-year US war against terrorism launched after the September 11 attacks.

However, Foreign Secretary William Hague warned that Al-Qaeda was still "in business" and put all British embassies on high alert.

He also stressed that bin Laden's death would not mean an end to the international military mission in Afghanistan, from where Al-Qaeda launched the September 2001 attacks on the United States.

Speaking from Egypt, Hague told BBC radio that the "removal" of bin Laden was a "very, very positive development".

"It is unequivocally a good thing that he is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world," he said.

"This is a very serious blow to Al-Qaeda but, like any organisation that has suffered a serious blow, they will want to show in some way that they are still able to operate.

"We will still have to be vigilant, even more vigilant, in the coming days about the international terrorist threat.

"There may be parts of Al-Qaeda that will try to show that they are in business in the coming weeks, as indeed some of them are.

"So I have already this morning asked our embassies to review their security to make sure that vigilance is heightened and I think that will have to be our posture for some time to come."

Britain has 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, used as a base by the terror network for its violent Islamist extremism.

"The work in Afghanistan will continue to be phenomenally difficult and must go on. So it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that suddenly we have solved a mass of the world's problems," Hague added.

© 2011 AFP

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