Brussels, Belgium Reaffirming their solidarity with the United States, European Union leaders on Friday gave their backing to "targeted" U.S. retaliation against countries harboring terrorists and said they were prepared to help.
"We reaffirmed our full solidarity not only from the heart but also from our sense of reason," French President Jacques Chirac said. "To be clear, we will not sit on the sidelines of this battle against this scourge."
In a statement read by the host, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, EU leaders urged President Bush to build "the broadest possible global coalition against terrorism."
They also stressed their rejection of any efforts to equate "fanatical terrorist groups" with Arabs and Muslims in general.
They said "an American riposte is legitimate," citing a U.N. Security Council resolution giving the United States authority to strike at the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks and their supporters.