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Australians told to leave Indonesia CANBERRA - The Australian government has warned its citizens to leave Indonesia based on "disturbing new information of generic threats" to Australians and Australian interests in the republic. Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer told parliament Thursday that all Australians who were short-term visitors to Indonesia, and whose presence there was "non-essential," should leave the country.
He urged Australians to "exercise extreme caution, particularly in commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas." Since last weekend's Bali explosions -- which killed nearly 200 people, the bulk of them Australians -- the government has been advising that all non-essential travel to Indonesia be deferred.
"We now recommend that all Australians in Indonesia who are concerned about their security should consider departure, " Downer said. "The government also strongly advises Australians in Indonesia to monitor carefully developments that might affect their safety." Travel advice notices for a range of other Southeast Asian countries had also been upgraded, Downer said, to reflect the ongoing risk of terrorist activity.
The Australian government has come under fire in the last few days over suggestions it had not sufficiently warned Australians about terrorists threats, particularly in the light of U.S. intelligence suggesting Bali could be a target. On Wednesday Prime Minister John Howard conceded the government had received the U.S. intelligence identifying Bali as a potential target but had not upgraded its travel advice.
He told parliament the intelligence had mentioned Bali as a possible target for terrorist activity along with other tourist areas in Indonesia. "This intelligence was assessed by agencies and the view was formed by them that no alteration in the threat asessement level, then at a high, applying to Indonesia was warranted," Howard said.
At a media conference Thursday, Howard said it was easy to criticize such decisions with the benefit of hindsight, but added: "Does anybody seriously imagine that if we'd had a credible warning of the bombing we wouldn't have moved heaven and earth to stop people going there?" The Australian leader, who is traveling to Bali Thursday, has now ordered a full review of all the intelligence and relevant material relating to Indonesia in the time before the blasts. There are believed to be about 10,000 Australians in Indonesia, apart from those in Bali.


Link to related event Related event:
Bali terrorist attack


Posted in Tourism @ 17 October 2002 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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