Monday, Dec 15, 2003
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France, Germany and Belgium who had steadfastly opposed the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq joined the chorus of commending the capture.
The French President, Jacques Chirac, was ``rejoicing in the arrest of Saddam Hussein,'' his spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna, said. ``It is a major event,'' Ms. Colonna said.
The German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, sent a message to the U.S. President, George W. Bush, saying "it is with great joy that I learned of the capture of Saddam Hussein, I congratulate you on this successful action.''
The Israeli President, Moshe Katzav, also expressed delight at the arrest, saying it served as a warning to sponsors of international terrorism.
The head of Iraq's U.S.-installed interim Governing Council, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, said the arrest would boost attempts to restore democracy to Iraq.
"Without a doubt attacks will diminish. This is a big blow to terrorists... It is a great day for humanity and the Iraqi people,'' said Mr. Hakim, who is leading a delegation visiting Spain, France, Germany and Italy later this week.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, said the capture of Saddam Hussein would help the process of political settlement in the country. ``As to the fate of Saddam Hussein, this should be decided by the Iraqi people,'' Mr. Ivanov added.
Japan, one of the closest Asian allies of the United States, welcomed the capture of the former Iraqi leader and said there were a lot of questions Tokyo hoped he could answer.
"It's wonderful," the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hatsuhisa Takashima, said. The Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, said in a statement that the capture was a major victory "for the international community."
The Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, said the capture removed the main obstacle to peace and democracy in Iraq.
``Saddam Hussein is the cause of all the poverty and suffering of the Iraqi people," Mr. Aznar said. "Today, the moment has arrived for him to pay for his crimes."
Describing the capture of Saddam Hussein as an ``important event,'' the United Nations Secretary Gerneral, Kofi Annan said, it offered an opportunity to give ``fresh impetus to search for peace and stability in Iraq.''
The capture is "excellent news" and will help to stabilise Iraq, media reports said quoting NATO chief, George Robertson.
"Mr. Robertson welcomes this excellent news which is going to help Iraq regain stability,'' the NATO secretary-general's spokesman, Jamie Shea, told media sources. "This will help to build democracy in Iraq and bring about the reconstruction of the country," he said.
``We hope that it will lessen the terrorist acts against the coalition forces and the Iraqi population itself, as we have seen again just this morning with the attack against the police,'' the NATO spokesman added.
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