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Jack Straw Condemns Terrorist Attack In Bali

Speaking in an interview on BBC radio following the explosion at a night club in Bali, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims.

'[This is] an attack on humankind,' he said. 'It is utterly to be condemned. It has been perpetrated by the most evil and perverted people who think that some political aim of theirs can be achieved by attacking mainly young people who are enjoying themselves. I send my condolences not just to the relatives of those Britons who have been killed and to those who have been injured, but to everybody else who has suffered in this terrible explosion.'

'JACK STRAW CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN BALI' (13/10/02)


QUESTION:
Is this an attack on democracy, Mr Straw?

JACK STRAW:
It is an attack on humankind. It is utterly to be condemned. It has been perpetrated by the most evil and perverted people who think that some political aim of theirs can be achieved by attacking mainly young people who are enjoying themselves, and also in turn contributing a great deal to the Indonesian economy. So it's a most appalling event and I send my condolences not just to the relatives of those Britons who have been killed and to those who have been injured, but to everybody else who has suffered in this terrible explosion.

QUESTION:
What's the latest information you have on this confused picture?

JACK STRAW:
Well the latest information is that there's been one Briton confirmed dead, 27 Britons injured and 15 are in hospital and 15 unaccounted for. But I emphasise, this is the latest information and these numbers may sadly change. As your report indicated, Richard Gozney, the British ambassador in Indonesia, is on his way there. We've already been able to upgrade the staffing of the British consulate in Bali as well as calling in an emergency unit of the consular department in London which has been operating since 1 o'clock this morning and you kindly gave out the emergency telephone number for that. Let me say, I do understand who anybody who has relatives or friends in Bali is going to be extremely anxious and we are all the time, hour by hour, upgrading the staffing to take account of the pressure that people obviously feel.

QUESTION:
Inevitably thoughts will turn to who on earth can have done this. Did Britain prior to yesterday share the United States' fear that Indonesia was being used as a foothold by al-Qaeda?

JACK STRAW:
As far as the al-Qaeda is concerned, it's too early to say whether they were the people behind this terrible extremist terrorist event. What is palpable is that it is a terrorist incident which has been perpetrated by very extreme, uncaring people. And we can speculate about which organisation may or may not have been responsible. There have been concerns around the world about the number of Indonesian-based terrorist cells but we obviously have no specific information that they were going to perpetrate this kind of explosion - still less that they would do so in a tourist resort like Bali. Had we had that kind of information, obviously we would have changed our travel advice before the event rather than as we've had to, after the event.

QUESTION:
And what is the advice now?

JACK STRAW:
The advice now is against all travel by British citizens to Bali itself and against all but non-essential travel to Indonesia and that advice is on the website.

FCO Travel Advice: Indonesia

The following helpline number has been set up by the Foreign Office for anyone concerned about friends or relatives in Bali: 0207 008 0000.

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