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11 September 2021

Leaders praise global resolve on 20th anniversary of 9/11

11 September 2021

The Queen, Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer have marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by praising the international resolve that has grown from the al Qaida-led tragedy.

In a defiant message to be played at a memorial event at the Olympic Park in east London on Saturday, the Prime Minister said the threat of terrorism remained but people refused to live their lives in “permanent fear”.

“The fact that we are coming together today – in sorrow but also in faith and resolve – demonstrates the failure of terrorism and the strength of the bonds between us,” Mr Johnson said.

The Queen remembered her visit to the site of the attack.

In a message to the US President Joe Biden, she said: “As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on September 11 2001, my thoughts and prayers, and those of my family and the entire nation, remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.

“My visit to the site of the World Trade Centre in 2010 is held fast in my memory.

“It reminds me that as we honour those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.”

Labour leader Sir Keir, who attended a private memorial service in the September 11 Memorial Garden in Grosvenor Square in London on Saturday, said the consequences of the attacks were “still being felt to this day”, adding the tragedy was “still so raw”.

He said: “But as we mark this anniversary I’m convinced our resolve has never been stronger.

“We will continue to fight terror and violence, by promoting our values of justice and peace.”

Mr Johnson said recent events in Afghanistan had only strengthened people’s belief in freedom and democracy.

And in a message on a card from the PM laid in Grosvenor Square, he said flowers laid were “in remembrance of those taken from us on 9/11, and in defiance of those who would have us live in fear”.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said on Friday that the Prime Minister would “mark the anniversary at home” as he works from Chequers this weekend.

The political leaders’ comments came as the prime minister at the time of the attacks – Tony Blair – said the international community must be prepared to take action against the Taliban if they again allow Afghanistan to become a base of terrorism.

Mr Blair said the US and its allies had no choice but to invade after the Taliban refused to give up the al Qaida leadership responsible for the attacks.

The former head of the UK armed forces, General Lord Richards, said the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan raised the prospect of “another 9/11” as ungoverned spaces opened up which the terrorists were able to exploit.

“I think we are (closer to another 9/11). We’ve now been pitched back into a dark period which we somehow have to manage,” he told LBC.

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