Chirac says no country safe from attacks
* Europe falls silent for London bomb victims
PARIS: French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday in his traditional Bastille Day interview that “no country in the world is safe from attacks” like the deadly bombings that rocked London last week.
“These terrorists have a mentality, a psychological state that is different from our own. All efforts must be made to fight against terrorism,” the French president said.
“With respect to terrorism, we must constantly adapt our means and ability to respond. We never know what they are going to come up with next.”
Before sitting down for the nationally televised interview broadcast live from his Elysee palace, Chirac observed the EU-wide two minutes of silence in tribute to the victims of last week’s terror bombings.
Jacques Chirac said he did not feel “humiliated” by his country’s resounding defeat of the EU constitution in a May referendum, a vote that effectively put the landmark charter on ice. “We have to ask ourselves about the message” sent by French voters on May 29, Chirac said in his annual Bastille Day interview. “This was not the message of a France that is morose, of a France that would give up,” the 72-year-old president said.
“I did not feel humiliated,” he added, saying voters had expressed “expectations, fears with respect to a world that is changing quickly” and “in the face of globalization, from which they do not feel protected”.
The French “no” vote triggered one of the biggest political crises to hit Europe, and prompted Chirac to reshuffle his government, dumping the unpopular prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin for close aide Dominique de Villepin.
Europe falls silent: Millions across Europe paid silent tribute to London’s dead on Thursday, a week to the day since suicide attacks killed over 50 people, as police tried to track down the mastermind behind the four British bombers. In London, workers poured out of their offices to line the streets while taxis and buses came to a halt. Planes at airports switched off their engines and delayed take-offs.
Hundreds gathered at King’s Cross station, site of one of the blasts detonated by a group of young British Muslims of Pakistani ethnic origin who lived in northern England. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who on Wednesday said he would look urgently at new measures to tackle extremism, marked the silence in the garden of his Downing Street office, while Queen Elizabeth observed it at Buckingham Palace.
Golfers at the 134th British Open championship stood quietly on the fairways and greens of the St Andrews course in Scotland.
Tributes were also paid in Madrid and Bali - both targeted by bombers from the Islamist Al Qaeda network in the past - and in cities across Europe. The Pope, on holiday in the Italian Alps, prayed for peace. agencies