World leaders condemn Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka

India, Germany, UK and other nations express shock over a series of bombings that killed more than 200 people.

    An inside view of St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo, after one of the blasts [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency]
    An inside view of St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo, after one of the blasts [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency]

    World leaders expressed shock and condemnation over the deadly blasts in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people and wounded hundreds of others.

    Dozens of foreign nationals were among the dead in the near simultaneous blasts, which targeted Catholic church worshippers on Easter Sunday as well as luxury hotels in the heart of the capital, Colombo.

    American, Indian, British, Chinese, Turkish and Dutch citizens were among those killed in the blasts.

    Here is how political leaders around the world reacted to Sunday's bloodshed.

    United Nations

    The United Nations secretary-general said he is "outraged by the terrorist attacks" in Sri Lanka.

    A statement by the spokesman for Antonio Guterres noted the "sanctity of all places of worship" adding he hoped the perpetrators will be quickly brought to justice.

    United States

    President Donald Trump condemned the "horrible terrorist attacks" and said the US offered "heartfelt condolences" to the Sri Lankan people and stood ready to help.

    India

    India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the "horrific blasts" and said his country stands with the people of Sri Lanka.

    "Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured," Modi said on Twitter.

    Pakistan

    Pakistan also condemned the attacks. Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan "stands in complete solidarity" with Sri Lanka. 

    Its foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal also issued a statement condemning the explosions. 

    Germany

    German Chancellor Angel Merkel said: "Terrorism, religious hatred and intolerance cannot be allowed to win."

    "We're horrified by the news that Christians in Sri Lanka were attacked and killed during Easter services," wrote Merkel's spokesperson on Twitter. "We mourn them and pray for the injured and their family members."

    The German Foreign Office's crisis response centre wrote the situation in Sri Lanka was unclear and it was trying to determine whether German nationals were affected by the attacks.

    United Kingdom

    British Prime Minister Theresa May also decried the attacks.

    "The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time," May said on Twitter.

    "We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear." 

    The British high commissioner to Sri Lanka said the UK government understands that "some British citizens were caught in the blasts", but it was too soon to say how many. James Dauris urged Britons to get in touch with family members to let them know they are safe.

    Turkey

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attacks "an assault on all of humanity".

    The Turkish foreign minister also condemned the deadly attacks, which broke a nearly 10-year lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war on the South Asian island nation.

    European Union

    EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his "horror and sadness" after the deadly Easter Sunday attacks ripped through Sri Lanka.

    "It was with horror and sadness that I heard of the bombings in Sri Lanka costing the lives of so many people," Juncker said on Twitter, adding the European Union stood ready to help.

    "I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims who had gathered to worship peacefully or come to visit this beautiful country," Juncker said.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the attacks marked "a truly sad day for the country and for the world".

    "Such acts of violence on this holy day are acts of violence against all beliefs and denominations, and against all those who value the freedom of religion and the choice to worship," she added in a statement.

    New Zealand

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the "devastating" attacks.

    In a statement, Ardern referred to the March 15 shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in which 50 died.

    "New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil," Ardern said.

    "New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely."

    The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 115 New Zealanders are registered as being in Sri Lanka but more are likely to be there. There is no indication New Zealanders are among the victims.

    Russia

    Russian President Vladimir Putin also denounced the attacks as "cruel and cynical."

    In a telegram of condolences sent to his Sri Lankan counterpart, the Russian leader said Moscow remains a "reliable partner of Sri Lanka in the fight against international terrorism".

    He added that the Russians "share the grief of the relatives of those killed and wish a quick recovery to all those who were wounded" after the Easter Sunday blasts.

    Putin voiced confidence that "the perpetrators and the masterminds of such a cruel and cynical crime committed amid the Easter festivities will take the punishment they deserve."

    Pope Francis

    "I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks, that precisely today, Easter, brought mourning and pain to churches and other places where people were gathered in Sri Lanka," Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square to hear his Easter Sunday message.

    "I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence."

    Iran

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shared condolences. 

    "Terribly saddened by terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan worshippers during Easter. Condolences to friendly govt & people of Sri Lanka," Zarif said on Twitter.

    "Our thoughts & prayers with the victims & their families. Terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally." 

    GCC countries 

    Three Gulf nations condemned the Easter Sunday bombings - Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - all of whom issued statements via their foreign ministries over the attack.

    Qatar said it wanted to stress its "firm stance on rejecting violence and terrorism".

    The UAE called upon "the international community to close ranks and uproot the scourge of terrorism in order to ensure international peace and security."

    Bahrain, meanwhile, said "these acts of terrorism are incompatible with religious principles and human and moral values."

    Israel

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expressing "deep shock" over the deadly attacks. Netanyahu issued a statement saying "Israel stands ready to assist the authorities in Sri Lanka at this difficult time".

    The prime minister said "the entire world must unite in the battle against the scourge of terrorism".

    SOURCE: News agencies