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Wednesday 16 October Downing St. lobby briefing

Wednesday 16 October afternoon lobby briefing
[17 October 2002]



Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to President Megawati today, the PMOS said that he had. The Prime Minister had expressed his deep condolences to the people of Indonesia and had also repeated the offer to help in any way we could, both in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and in the ensuing investigations, in addition to the counter-terrorism effort which would clearly now be necessary.

Asked to explain why Indonesia had not been classified a 'failed state' - in the way Afghanistan had post-September 11 - given Indonesia's less than vigorous response to the terrorist threat over the last couple of years, as well as reports that a member of the Indonesian armed forces had been involved in the Bali attacks, the PMOS said that the question contained a number of speculative comments and generalisations which would be better left to the investigators on the ground in Bali to deal with. While we had been able to work with the Indonesian Government, it was important to recognise that it was simply not possible to provide 100% protection against terrorist attacks, as we were aware from our own experience. On an international level, we had to keep learning from each incident and continue to improve our intelligence co-operation efforts, as indeed we were doing by providing training and direct assistance and continuing to work with other intelligence agencies.

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