London: Al Qaeda is now weaker than at any time since the September 11 attacks and the Arab Spring popular uprisings have shown it is increasingly irrelevant, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday.
"In the decade since the 2001 attacks on the United States, terrorists have succeeded only in the murder of innocents, often from among those they claim to represent," he said on the tenth anniversary of the atrocity.
"Al Qaeda is now weaker than at any time in the decade since 9/11 -- and political progress through peaceful protest in the Middle East and North Africa has shown it to be increasingly irrelevant to the future."
The Islamist terror group behind the September 11 attacks was absent from popular protests that took place across the Arab world this year, which led to the fall of presidents in Egypt and Tunisia and provoked major unrest elsewhere.
And Hague argued: "The true expression of what people in the Muslim world aspire to was seen not at Ground Zero in 2001, but in squares and streets across the Middle East and North Africa this year.”
"So while we remember the victims of 9/11, stand firm with our allies and remain tirelessly vigilant against future threats, we also face the future with confidence in our values and faith in human nature."
Hague recalled all those killed in terror attacks in the past decade, including the 52 murdered in the 2005 London bombings, but he insisted such incidents had only bolstered the case for peace.
"Such attacks have only served to bring the international community closer together, and to bolster those who seek change through peaceful means, not through barbaric violence," he said.