Morrison, James, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: James Morrison
SYRIA CONDEMNS ATTACKS
Syrian Ambassador Rustom Zoubi yesterday condemned the "ugly and horrible" attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and promised Syria's help to "root out terrorism in all its forms."
Mr. Zoubi told Embassy Row that Syria "expresses its condolences [to the victims and their relatives] and strong denunciation" of the attacks.
"We also express our profound sympathy for the loss of life . . . from these ugly and horrible attacks," he said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad sent a letter to President Bush, offering condolences and denouncing the attacks. Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa sent a similar letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Mr. Zoubi cautioned against a "rush to [the] conclusion" that Arab terrorists were responsible. However, if Osama bin Laden, the Saudi dissident suspected of planning the attacks, is responsible, "he should pay," the ambassador said. "The Arab countries are not responsible for him," Mr. Zoubi said, referring to bin Laden's presence in Afghanistan. "He does not represent the Arab countries. He represents himself."
Mr. Zoubi rejected the State Department's description of Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism.
"We are against terrorism," he said. "We denounce all terrorists. . . . Syria is ready to cooperate to uproot terrorism in all of its forms."
The State Department includes Syria on a list of nations accused of sponsoring terrorists. It says Syria provides "safe haven and support to several terrorist groups."
Mr. Zoubi said that is a "very old story" and "there is no proof about that."
"Syria has nothing to do with terrorism," he said. "We are a civilized country. We call on all countries to be united in the fight against terrorism.
"Anyone or any group that is behind these actions should be brought to justice."
ASSAULT ON CIVILIZATION
Russian Ambassador Yury V. Ushakov yesterday denounced the terrorist assault as attacks "directed against not only America, but also all of modern civilization."
Expressing his "deep sympathy for the Americans who have suffered in this horrible tragedy," he noted that Russia has "also experienced the evil of terrorism in recent years. …