Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia

My first reaction to the tragedy that struck America on September 11 was to send a cable to President Bush. I expressed my profound condolences and feelings of solidarity with the American people. This terrible crime was committed not only against America but against all humankind. It is now facing an unprecedented challenge. It is only by common efforts that we will be able to find the response to it.

The time will come to discuss problems such as the roots of fanaticism and violence and ways of dealing with them. What is needed now is to support the people of America, of New York and Washington, who will need a lot of courage and strength in the days ahead.

The hour of trouble must not become an hour of despair. Americans should know that in these days the Russian people are with them. We see that you are recovering from the shock and that, hard as it is, people are going back to their business and getting on with life. We have faith that you will not allow the terrorists to break your will or shatter your reason. This makes us confident that together we will be able to defeat this terrible evil.

Mikhail Gorbachev
September 14, 2001