After having heard the news of the death of Osama bin Laden, Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, felt relief. Verhofstadt was President of the European Council back in 2001 when 9/11 took place. In the name of the European Union he called these attacks “barbaric”.

Guy Verhofstadt: “In the first place I look back and deeply regret the many victims that have succumbed under the reckless and unjustifiable violence of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The terrorist attacks of 9/11, as well as in London, Madrid and so many other places were all barbaric through their discriminate nature and scale. Although I am glad Osama bin Laden is now neutralised, and Al Qaeda decapitated, it is nevertheless a regrettable that bin Laden does not have to appear in front of the International Criminal Court and cannot be held to account for all these atrocities.

“I truly hope that the death of bin Laden means the end of a decade of terror and terrorism. Following the ten years of hope after the collapse of the Soviet-Union, we lived through ten years of fear, which resulted in a movement of more nationalism and exclusion. With the democratic revolutions in the Arab world and now the end of Osama bin Laden, a new decade of hope has started.”

“Now it is absolutely necessary not to create a new generation of people frustrated by the attitude of the Western world. There is only one way to achieve this: support without hesitation the people in the Arab world that are fighting for freedom and democracy. We must not listen to those who are warning of looming chaos following the demise of dictatorships. Dictators do not bring stability but terror. The international community must take its responsibility and clearly support the people in Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and other countries and set itself unequivocally in opposition to the indiscriminate repression of their populations. 2011 must be the year to restore hope in the future.”