Condemnation follows Russian airport blast

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Swift condemnation followed a suicide blast at Moscow's main airport that killed at 35 people Monday, with NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen offering Russia the Western alliance's "solidarity".

"We are in this fight together," the defence organisation's secretary general said in a statement, after the blast in the packed arrivals hall of Domodedovo international airport.

"This is why in the NATO-Russia Council we have to strengthen our cooperation in the fight against terrorism," the Dane said, on the eve of high-level talks between NATO and Russian officials in Brussels.

A "shocked" Rasmussen underlined: "This is a common threat that we have to face united. NATO expresses its solidarity with the Russian people and government."

European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek, a former Polish prime minister, added his "sympathy" for the people of Russia, who have "repeatedly suffered from similar inhumane acts in the recent past."

France and Germany both called the attack "barbaric," while British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "deeply shocked and saddened."

"The president of the republic assures the authorities of the Russian Federation of the entire solidarity of France in the face of this barbaric and cowardly terrorist act," President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said.

"I condemn this dreadful and bloody attack in the strongest possible terms. Nothing can justify this barbaric act," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families of the victims."

British officials are in contact with Russian authorities in case any British nationals were caught up in a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, Hague said.

Two flights from Britain landed at the airport shortly before the blast and Hague said British officials were in "urgent contact" with the Russian authorities to provide support to any Britons who may have been affected.

"I am deeply shocked and saddened at today's explosion at Moscow's Domodedovo airport with the loss of many lives," Hague said in a statement.

"On behalf of the UK I send condolences to all those who have lost relatives or been injured."

Bulgaria's foreign ministry also said that "no cause exists that justifies the killing of innocent people," as President Georgy Parvanov sent a letter of condolences to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev,

© 2011 AFP

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