a truce to Europeans

from: appeared to be authentic

DUBAI (April 15) -- An audio tape purportedly by Osama bin Laden and aired on Arab TV Thursday, offered a truce to Europeans if they withdrew troops from Muslim nations but vowed to continue fighting the United States and Israel. The voice on the tape, which a European security source said appeared to be authentic, also said the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people were retaliation for Spain's role in Iraq, Afghanistan and with the Palestinians. Getty Images The address looked like an attempt to exploit transatlantic differences over the war in Iraq and the Middle East peace process. ''I offer a truce to them (Europe) with a commitment to stop operations against any state which vows to stop attacking Muslims or interfere in their affairs,'' the voice said on the tape aired by Dubai-based Al Arabiya and Qatar-based Al Jazeera channels. ''The announcement of the truce starts with the withdrawal of the last soldier from our land and the door is open for three months from the date of the announcement of this statement. Talk About It Post Messages ''Whoever rejects this truce and wants war, we are its (war's) sons and whoever wants this truce, here we bring it.'' Security analysts said bin Laden was maneuvering to split the U.S.-led coalition and scare wavering members out of Iraq. They said the tape was aimed at fears among Western publics that their governments' pro-U.S. policies are placing them at risk. It also looked like an attempt to exploit transatlantic differences over the Middle East peace process. ''Al-Qaida's signature tactic is divide-and-conquer,'' an Israeli intelligence source told Reuters. Al-Qaida wants to erode the Western coalition against terror from within by playing the allies off against each other. It already worked in Madrid.'' Several European states rejected the purported truce offer. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said it was ''completely unthinkable'' to start negotiations with the al-Qaida leader, and European Commission President Romano Prodi said there would be no negotiating under a ''terrorist threat.'' More on This Story Tapes of bin Laden The Hunt for bin Laden -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AOL Search: Al-Qaida Britain said it was taking the message seriously but could not talk with al Qaeda and that the right response was to ''continue to fight terrorism.'' Germany said it would not negotiate with ''criminals'' like bin Laden. In Washington, a CIA official said the tape was being examined to see whether it was authentic. 'FATAL DANGER TO THE WORLD' The Saudi-born fugitive blamed for the September 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities is believed to be in hiding somewhere in Afghanistan or on the Pakistan frontier. ''President Bush and leaders in his sphere, big media institutions and the United Nations...all of them are a fatal danger to the world, and the Zionist lobby is their most dangerous and difficult member, and we insist, God willing, on continuing to fight them,'' the man on the tape said. He vowed revenge on Israel and the United States for the death of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, killed last month in Gaza. ''Our actions come in response to your actions of destroying and killing our people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. It is enough to witness the event that shocked the world, the killing of the elderly, wheelchair-bound Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, God have mercy on him, and we pledge to God to take revenge on America,'' the man on the tape said. ''What happened on September 11 and March 11 are your goods returned to you so that you know security is a necessity for all.'' Madrid, which was struck by a series of train bombs on March 11, sent troops to Iraq after Saddam Hussein was toppled and has a contingent in Afghanistan. Militants claiming al-Qaida links claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombs. The Socialists, elected three days after the attack, have pledged to pull Spain's 1,300 troops out of Iraq if the United Nations does not take charge there by June 30. Spain believes most of the bombers are among Moroccans now in custody or who died in a suicide blast two weeks ago. It says they may well have had links to al-Qaida. ''This is a message to our neighbors north of the Mediterranean Sea with a proposal for truce in response to the positive reactions which emerged there,'' the man said. He said polls showed Europeans want peace and urged scholars, clerics and traders to form a body to make Europeans aware of ''the justice of our causes, foremost Palestine.'' ''Stop shedding our blood to save your own and the solution to this simple but complex equation is in your hands. You know matters will escalate the more you delay and then do not blame us but blame yourselves. Rational people do not risk their security, money and sons to appease the White House liar.''



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