Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa professed himself astounded by the threats and an Egyptian government spokesman interpreted the statements as indicating a general intention to threaten Arab countries. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said that the US needed to moderate its rhetoric and that dialogue rather than threats were needed. Russia and France warned that the US comments would aggravate tension in the Middle East. ‘Do not let us underestimate the fact that this region today – whether at government or popular level people are experiencing a very deep feeling of unease, frustration, sometimes even humiliation,’ said French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, on the same day that his foreign office minister Mike O’Brien was in Damascus meeting President Asad, reassured MPs that the US had no plans to launch a war against Syria. ‘I have the advantage of talking to the American president on a regular basis and I can assure you there are no plans to invade Syria,’ he told the House of Commons. ‘Neither has anyone on the other side of the water, as far as I am aware, said there are plans.’ Asad had pledged that no fleeing allies of Saddam Hussein would be allowed shelter in Syria, Blair said.
The only note of support for the American stance came from Israel. ‘We have a long list of issues we are thinking of demanding from the Syrians and it is proper that it should be done through the Americans,’ Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Maariv daily. ‘It starts from removing Hezbollah’s threat from southern Lebanon.