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Government issues South East Asia security warning

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

16 May 2003

Government issues South East Asia security warning

Travellers to South East Asia, and New Zealanders living in the region, should be aware of heightened security concerns and maintain a high level of vigilance, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

“We continue to receive reports that terrorist in South East Asia are planning attacks against Western interests,” Mr Goff said.

“In the wake of the recent terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia, there is concern that similar attacks may be made in South East Asia by Jemaah Islamiah, which is known to have links to al Qaeda and other extremist organisations operating in Southeast Asia.

“While the reports do not, and cannot, pinpoint specific targets or times, the threat against Western interests in the region is regarded as real.

“We have reiterated in our travel advisories that if people are planning to travel or stay in the region, they should avoid places where Westerners gather, resorts popular with foreigners, and pay greater than usual attention to security considerations.

“While security operations against Jemaah Islamiah in the region have been successful, the organisation is considered to retain the ability to launch further attacks throughout Southeast Asia.

“New Zealanders living in Southeast Asia should register with the nearest New Zealand Embassy or High Commission and those planning to visit the region are urged to read and heed the Governments travel advice,” Mr Goff said.

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