Embassy: US advisory just an extension


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 20 May 2003

By AUDREY EDWARDS

PETALING JAYA: The United States’ travel advisory to its citizens on terrorist activities in South-East Asia is merely an extension of the previous one issued in November, said US Embassy press officer Frank J. Whitaker yesterday. 

He said the advisory was updated on May 14, the same day the previous advisory posted on Nov20 expired.  

Updates are done by the State Department every six months.  

The latest update, which can be viewed at http://travel.state.gov /, revises the number of Jemaah Islamiah members arrested by Malaysian authorities from over 70 to 80.  

However, the State Department reiterated its concern about attacks by the Abu Sayyaf group based in the southern Philippines.  

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also reviewed and reissued its travel advice to Malaysia on Thursday, a month after its previous advice was issued.  

The latest advice contained a new sentence – “We continue to receive reports that terrorist elements in the region are planning attacks” – which can be viewed at http://www.dfat.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Malaysia

Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Malaysia Nicolas Brown said the department was being “prudent.” 

“We are not telling Australians not to come to Malaysia but merely to exercise extreme caution. We have been telling Australians to exercise caution, particularly in commercial and public areas, ever since the Bali bombings took place,” he said when contacted. 

Canadian High Commission press attache Michael Blackmore said in its travel report for Malaysia that the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade did not advise against travel to Malaysia. 

The report advises its citizens to “exercise appropriate caution in large gatherings and crowded places, and states that “heightened tensions throughout the region, together with increased threats globally from terrorism, put Canadians at greater risk.” 

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office also updated its country advice last Monday on its website, which only stated that there was a continuing threat to Westerners from terrorism throughout South-East Asia.  

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