Prime Minister appeals for calm

PRIME Minister Tony Blair today said London's transport system would be running as soon as possible and appealed to people to "react calmly" after the series of incidents which brought fresh fear to the capital.

PRIME Minister Tony Blair today said London's transport system would be running as soon as possible and appealed to people to "react calmly" after the series of incidents which brought fresh fear to the capital.

Mr Blair said he would press on with meetings this afternoon including talks with intelligence and police chiefs discussing the aftermath of the July 7 terror attacks.

The premier said he had just spoken with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, adding "his hope is that things can get back to normal again as quickly as possible''.

Mr Blair, speaking in No 10 alongside Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who was in London for routine talks, said: "I heard about this as I was in the middle of the lunch meeting.

"I have then chaired the Cobra meeting at 2.30pm.

"I have just spoken to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and his hope is that things can get back to normal as soon as quickly as possible.

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"We can't minimise incidents such as these, all I would like to say is this - we know why these things are done, to frighten people and make them anxious and worried.

"Fortunately in this instance there appears to have been no casualties. We have just got to react calmly.''

The Prime Minister said he would be returning to his schedule of meetings as Sir Ian and the Security Services are now fairly clear as to what had happened.

"We hope that we can get the rest of the transport system back up and running again as soon as possible,'' he said.

Mr Blair thanked Australia for its sympathy and support following the July 7 attacks.

"The scourge of terrorism is one that we all face together,'' he said.

"But Australia has been a particularly extraordinary and strong and indomitable ally of ours over these past few years.''

Mr Blair said the two countries were "immensely close''.

Mr Howard said the entire Australian nation felt for the people of Great Britain and London after the July 7 attack.

"There is no city in the world after our own that Australians have more affection for, more identification with and a greater sense of history about than the City of London,'' he said.

He praised Londoners' determination to carry on with their normal daily lives and the "remarkable'' response of the emergency services.

He said terrorism was the enemy of all free people. He said it was not "incident-specific'' - a clear reference to claims the London attack resulted from the Iraq war.

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