Tony Blair Statement to Parliament on Bali Attack
Prime Minister's statement to
Parliament on Bali attack
In a statement to the House of Commons the Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned the bomb attack in Bali and expressed his deep sympathies and condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the appalling terrorist outrage.
During his statement the PM said:
'But the message we send out is once again the same: one of total defiance; of determination, in the face of this evil, to prosecute the fight against them the world over, until in time they are defeated. Defeated, of course by intelligence, by police and even military action. But defeated also in the triumph of our values of tolerance, freedom and the rule of law over those of terror designed to produce bloodshed, fear and hatred.'
Read the full text of the Prime Minister's speech below (Check against delivery).
With your permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the bombings in Bali, Indonesia.
Two bombs went off near the Sari Club in Kuta, Bali, just after 11pm Indonesian time on the night of 12 October. At the same time a bomb exploded in Denpasar, capital of Bali, near the US Consulate, and another at the Philippines Consulate in Sulawesi. The Sari Club was packed with people, mainly young, enjoying themselves on a Saturday night. The attacks appear to have been timed deliberately to cause the maximum possible injury and loss of life.
First of all I would like to express my deep
sympathies and condolences to the families who have lost
loved ones in this appalling terrorist outrage. The final
toll of the dead and injured is unlikely to be confirmed for
several weeks. But as of this morning, more than 180 people
are confirmed dead, with hundreds more injured. Many of
those who died were young Australians. Up to 30 British
people may have died. Nine Britons are confirmed dead, with
a further eight bodies yet to be identified, and 13 people
still missing. Eight have been medically evacuated from
Bali. Many more received hospital treatment at the scene. We
are providing assistance, as we did after September 11th, to
the relatives of British victims. This will enable those who
wish to to travel to Bali. We will provide help and support
to them while they are there.
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This was an act of pure wickedness - horrific and brutal attacks which have left hundreds of families here and all around the world in shock and grieving. Last night the UN Security Council condemned the bombings in the strongest terms, calling them a threat to international peace and security. At the weekend I spoke to Prime Minister Howard and to the Premier of Western Australia to express my condolences, and I hope to speak to President Megawati later this week. I have also spoken to President Bush. My Right Honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke at the weekend to his Australian and Indonesian counterparts and is discussing the issues with Secretary of State Powell in Washington today.
A team of specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Anti-Terrorist Branch has already flown to Bali, and more are on their way. US and Australian experts are also on the scene.
I would also like to place on record the Government's gratitude for the help extended by both the Indonesian and Australian authorities to all those from the UK who have been caught up in these dreadful events.
We had no specific intelligence relating to the attack in Bali. We do not yet know for certain who carried it out. But we do know that there are groups of extremists active in the region, some of which have strong links to Al Qaida. These groups have worked with Al Qaida on attack plans in the past. We know that they have tried before to carry out major terrorist atrocities in the region, including in Singapore last December, when a massive attack planned against targets including the British High Commission was thwarted by the Singaporean authorities. I discussed this with the Prime Minister of Singapore when he visited London in April this year. He told me that had the authorities not discovered these plans, hundreds of people could have died.
The Indonesian authorities have been conscious for some time of the growing threat from extremists in the region. Indonesia is a secular country, with a tradition of tolerance and moderate Islam of which Indonesians are rightly proud. But prior to 11 September, and especially afterwards, we identified the South East Asian region including Indonesia as an area with a real and present threat from groups linked to Al Qaida. The most prominent is Jemaah Islamiyah, which has a network stretching across a number of countries in the region, and which has to be one of the groups under suspicion for this atrocity. We are urgently considering proscribing Jemaah Islamiyah under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Earlier this year we put in place an enhanced package of counter-terrorism assistance for Indonesia, including specific programmes on intelligence, crisis management and aviation security: and we offered assistance with bomb disposal and bomb scene management training.
In June I met President Megawati in London to discuss how we could fight terrorism in Indonesia more effectively and we agreed to expand our existing programme further, drawing on the wide range of expertise in counter-terrorism that Britain can offer. We will do so in close cooperation with the US and Australia as well as with the Indonesian authorities. We have also set up programmes to help other Governments in the region. In the Philippines we are training in counter-terrorism, hostage negotiation and police investigations. In Malaysia we are setting up training by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch, and in bomb disposal. We fully support the tripartite counter-terrorism agreement signed by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines earlier this year, designed to combat money-laundering, illegal border crossing and illegal trade in arms.
Since 11 September, here in Britain we have enhanced our intelligence efforts, strengthened protection against rogue aircraft and shipping, and clamped down on sources of terrorist financing. We have passed new anti-terrorist legislation. Internationally we have put a new UN framework in place, under UK chairmanship, to ensure effective national and international action against terrorism. And we have increased intelligence cooperation, strengthening existing partnerships and putting in place new ones, across the world.
So we have had a fresh reminder, if we needed one, that the war against terrorism is not over. In the last ten days, there have been attacks in Kuwait and in Yemen. The threat to all people, at any time, at any place in the world, is real.
In the end it is not just the families now grieving for their loved ones who suffer, but also the people of Indonesia, many of these already in poverty, who will have to face the devastating economic consequences of this attack. For these bombs, and the fanatics who use them, do not discriminate between young and old, East and West, black and white, Christian and Muslim. They will kill anyone of any race, creed or colour. They respect no frontiers. They have no inhibitions in murdering the innocent. Indeed they rejoice in it. Because of the way they work, in small cells of fanatics; because their victims are the most vulnerable, people in a pub or a café, on a street or on holiday, discovering where and how they might strike next is hard.
But the message we send out is once again the same: one of total defiance; of determination, in the face of this evil, to prosecute the fight against them the world over, until in time they are defeated. Defeated, of course by intelligence, by police and even military action. But defeated also in the triumph of our values of tolerance, freedom and the rule of law over those of terror designed to produce bloodshed, fear and hatred.
Some say that we should fight terrorism alone; and that issues to do with WMD are a distraction. I reject that entirely. Both, though different in means, are the same in nature. Both are the new threats facing the post Cold War world.
Both are threats from people or states who do not care about human life, who have no compunction about killing the innocent. Both represent the extreme replacing the rational; the fanatic driving out moderation. Both are intent not on letting people live in peace with each other, celebrate our diversity, and work out our differences in an orderly way; but on producing such chaos and disorder, that out of it comes a world in which religions and nations and peoples fight each other for supremacy. That is the true measure of what is at stake.
The war on terrorism is indeed a war, but of a different sort to the ones we are used to. Its outcome, however, is as important as any we have fought before.