"The attacks on New York and Washington were a new form and scale of terrorism, amounting to an act of war. The intention of the coalition, led by the United States, to eradicate terrorism deserves the support of the European democracies in particular. We welcome the measures taken by the European Council since the attacks and we are playing our part in putting them swiftly into effect. But let us also be vigilant that the EU does not, in its haste, take steps which exceed the current needs: in some cases they should be renewable temporary measures.
"Last week in Rome I and my colleagues had a series of meetings in connection with the reaction to terrorism. We met the exiled Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah, who ruled for 40 years until 1973, and in 1964 introduced free elections, a free media and brought women into politics. We affirm his willingness, and our support for, his central role in the return to democracy of his country.
"We urge the European Parliament, the Council and Commission to take up immediate contacts with the king. We had meetings with Italian ministers, and were able to express our thanks for the additional deployment of troops in the Balkans, allowing British special forces to be deployed to another theatre. We also discussed, at the Vatican, the values shared by all faiths, including Islam, concerning the integrity of human beings, their rights and the universal belief in the peaceful resolution of disputes, whether in the context of democracy or other systems.
"We had meetings with the World Food Programme and were told that the international community should start to plan now for a Reconstruction Agency similar to the one the EU set up for Kosovo. Even before the current crisis, drought, a failing economy and war had turned Afghanistan into one of the most difficult places to live on earth with as many as 22% of children in some drought affected districts dead before they reach five years of age and average life expectancy of 40.
"The actions about to begin are not simply to eradicate terrorism; they are also to eradicate an evil regime."