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Reactions of horror at Gandhi killing

By
United Press International

The world reacted in horror Tuesday at the news of the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

In Washington, President Bush expressed abhorrence at the killing, saying it was 'a real tragedy.'

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'Barbara and I had a real friendship with Rajiv Gandhi and his wife, ' he said. 'It is a tragedy that people resort to this kind of action. '

Secretary of State James Baker said in a statement he was 'deeply saddened' and that Gandhi's leadership helped to produce 'rapid expansion of ties' between the United States and India.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan, president of Pakistan, described the explosion that killed Gandhi as 'an act of terrorism and cowardice' and said he was 'deeply hurt to hear the news of this untimely death.'

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was accused here of being a friend of Rajiv Gandhi while in office, called his death 'a loss for South Asia, a great loss,' and said she sympathized with the people of India and Gandhi's family 'at this difficult moment.'

In China, a government spokesman praised Gandhi as 'a friend well- known to the Chinese people.'

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Chinese Premier Li Peng sent a telegram to Indian Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar expressing his condolences over Gandhi's death and conveying sympathy to Gandhi's family.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said he felt 'great shock and sadness.'

'The entire world is appaled by the dreadful act that has taken him away in his very prime,' Perez de Cuellar said in a cable to Gandhi's widow.

In London, British Prime Minister Prime Minister John Major said Gandhi had been 'a brave man' and that the Commonwealth would miss the slain Indian leader, whose loss Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd said was 'incalculable.'

'We were shocked and saddened by the news of Gandhi's murder,' Major said outside 10 Downing Street, his official residence.

'He was a brave man and we will miss him a very great deal,' Major said. 'He had a rare quality. He had many friends both here and within the Commonwealth.'

Hurd sent condolences to Gandhi's family, saying the assassination was an incalculable loss for India.

'I vividly remember Rajiv outlining his hopes and plans for India even before he was closely involved in politics,' Hurd said in his message. 'No one who knew him could doubt that it was this devotion to India that brought him into political life and led him to the top.

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'The loss today for India and for all his friends is beyond calculation and we share our sorrow with you,' Hurd said.

In Paris, Prime Minister Edith Cresson expressed horror at Gandhi's killing. 'After Indira Gandhi, her son,' Cresson said, referring to the Oct. 31, 1984, assassination of his mother, then India's prime minister. 'An assassination always is something horrible.'

France's first lady, Danielle Mitterrand, was visibly shocked at the news, saying only 'it is not true.'

French National Assembly President Laurent Fabius also looked stunned. 'This was a friend. He always used to say, 'In France it is liberty,' because he could walk (here) without a bodyguard.'

In Johannesburg, African National Congress Deputy President Nelson Mandela expressed 'horror' at the killing.

'The Gandhi family, the Congress Party of India and the Indian people as a whole have suffered an irreparable loss in the untimely death of this promising statesman,' the statement said.

In Canberra, Australia, Prime Minister Bob Hawke Wednesday said the killing of Gandhi 'closes a great life of a remarkable man.'

'I had the privilege of being a close personal friend of Rajiv Gandhi since I first met him in 1985 and his is a tragic loss,' Hawke told reporters.

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'In the hours of private conversation I had with him I came to know how conscious he was of the ever-present threat of assassination,' Hawke said.

'He was not morbid about it. ... He was very courageous about it and he didn't allow it to interfere with the discharge of his duties,' Hawke said. 'It didn't consume him. He knew every day was a threat to his life.'

The world reacted in horror Tuesday at the news of the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

In Washington, President Bush expressed abhorrence at the killing, saying it was 'a real tragedy.'

friendship with Rajiv Gandhi and his wife,' he said. 'It is a tragedy that people resort to this kind of action.'

Secretary of State James Baker said in a statement he was 'deeply saddened' and that Gandhi's leadership helped to produce 'rapid expansion of ties' between the United States and India.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan, president of Pakistan, described the explosion that killed Gandhi as 'an act of terrorism and cowardice' and said he was 'deeply hurt to hear the news of this untimely death.'

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was accused here of being a friend of Rajiv Gandhi while in office, called his death 'a loss for South Asia, a great loss,' and said she sympathized with the people of India and Gandhi's family 'at this difficult moment.'

Advertisement

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said he felt 'great shock and sadness.'

'The entire world is appaled by the dreadful act that has taken him away in his very prime,' Perez de Cuellar said in a cable to Gandhi's widow.

In London, British Prime Minister Prime Minister John Major said Gandhi had been 'a brave man' and that the Commonwealthwould miss the slain Indian leader, whose loss Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd said was 'incalculable.'

'We were shocked and saddened by the news of Gandhi's murder,' Major said outside 10 Downing Street, his official residence.

'He was a brave man and we will miss him a very great deal,' Major said. 'He had a rare quality. He had many friends both here and within the Commonwealth.'

Hurd sent condolences to Gandhi's family, saying the assassination was an incalculable loss for India.

'I vividly remember Rajiv outlining his hopes and plans for India even before he was closely involved in politics,' Hurd said in his message. 'No one who knew him could doubt that it was this devotion to India that brought him into political life and led him to the top.

Advertisement

'The loss today for India and for all his friends is beyond calculation and we share our sorrow with you,' Hurd said.

In Paris, Prime Minister Edith Cresson expressed horror at Gandhi's killing. 'After Indira Gandhi, her son,' Cresson said, referring to the Oct. 31, 1984, assassination of his mother, then India's prime minister. 'An assassination always is something horrible.'

France's first lady, Danielle Mitterrand, was visibly shocked at the news, saying only 'it is not true.'

French National Assembly President Laurent Fabius also looked stunned. 'This was a friend. He always used to say, 'In France it is liberty,' because he could walk (here) without a bodyguard.'

In Johannesburg, African National Congress Deputy President Nelson Mandela expressed 'horror' at the killing.

'The Gandhi family, the Congress Party of India and the Indian people as a whole have suffered an irreparable loss in the untimely death of this promising statesman,' the statement said.

In Canberra, Australia, Prime Minister Bob Hawke Wednesday said the killing of Gandhi 'closes a great life of a remarkable man.'

'I had the privilege of being a close personal friend of Rajiv Gandhi since I first met him in 1985 and his is a tragic loss,' Hawke told reporters.

Advertisement

'In the hours of private conversation I had with him I came to know how conscious he was of the ever-present threat of assassination,' Hawke said.

'He was not morbid about it. ... He was very courageous about it and he didn't allow it to interfere with the discharge of his duties,' Hawke said. 'It didn't consume him. He knew every day was a threat to his life.'

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