EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the text, as released by 10 Downing Street, of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s first statement in reaction to the July 7th attacks on London. He made his remarks in Scotland, where he was hosting the G-8 meeting.
I am just going to make a short statement to you on the terrible events that have happened in London earlier today, and I hope you understand that at the present time we are still trying to establish exactly what has happened, and there is a limit to what information I can give you, and I will simply try and tell you the information as best I can at the moment.
It is reasonably clear that there have been a series of terrorist attacks in London. There are obviously casualties, both people that have died and people seriously injured, and our thoughts and prayers of course are with the victims and their families.
It is my intention to leave the G8 within the next couple of hours and go down to London and get a report, face-to-face, with the police, and the emergency services and the Ministers that have been dealing with this, and then to return later this evening.
It is the will of all the leaders at the G8 however that the meeting should continue in my absence, that we should continue to discuss the issues that we were going to discuss, and reach the conclusions which we were going to reach. Each of the countries round that table have some experience of the effects of terrorism and all the leaders, as they will indicate a little bit later, share our complete resolution to defeat this terrorism.
It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, and the long term problems of climate change and the environment. Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack, or a series of terrorist attacks, it is also reasonably clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G8. There will be time to talk later about this.
It is important however that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world.