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U.K. Spurns ‘Truce’ From Osama Bin Laden

April 15, 2004

LONDON (AP) _ British officials on Thursday rejected a purported truce offer from Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

A recording broadcast on Arab satellite networks Thursday, by a man who identified himself as bin Laden, offered a truce to European countries that do not attack Muslims, saying it would begin when their soldiers leave Islamic nations.

But the Foreign Office ruled out any deal with bin Laden.

``We can’t negotiate with al-Qaida,″ the department said. ``Their attacks are against the very idea of co-existence. ... To hide in the face of the threat is not an answer.

``The right response is to continue to confront terrorism, not give in to its demands,″ the Foreign Office added.

Britain’s main opposition party said the purported truce offer showed that al-Qaida was rattled.

``It is obviously an attempt by al-Qaida or the associates of al-Qaida, to try and drive a wedge between the coalition,″ said Michael Ancram, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Conservative Party. He was referring to the broader coalition against terror, rather than the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, his spokesman David Hart said.

``They are frightened about the effectiveness of the coalition,″ Ancram said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

``They would like to think that they can frighten the Europeans out of the coalition, particularly in the fight against them.

``I think we have got to make absolutely sure that we stand shoulder to shoulder within the coalition in the fight against bin Laden, al-Qaida and international terrorism,″ Ancram said.


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