Cambodia Questions Australian Assessment

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng on Friday questioned information used by the Aus­tralian government to upgrade its travel warning to include Cam­bodia as a country where the risk of terrorist activity is high.

He said the decision to change travel security warnings for Australian nationals visiting and living in Cambodia was Aus­tralia’s business. However, Cam­bodian security officials have discovered no signs of terrorist activity in the country, Sar Kheng said.

“I don’t know how the Aus­tralians got their information. But for us, we do not have any information,” Sar Kheng said by telephone. “I dare not say if it is fair or not, correct or not. But we are trying to do our best to protect security,” he said. “Whether [threats of terrorism] are true or not, as leaders, we have to check out the information.”

Following last weekend’s massive car-bomb attack on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, which killed nearly 200 people and wounded hundreds more, Australia warned its nationals on Thursday to leave Indonesia amid reports that more attacks are planned.

Australia’s Foreign Ministry also issued warnings about possible terrorist activity in six other countries: Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos and Brunei.

With just weeks to go before Cambodia hosts the Greater Mekong Sub Region and Asean Summits, government officials maintain they have a “100 percent” grip on security.

However, National Police Director-General Hok Lundy said after the blast in Bali he was stepping up security at locations frequented by foreign tourists in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

At a weekly meeting of the government cabinet, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Friday that preparations and security measures for the high-profile summits was proceeding smoothly.

The US State Department issued a “worldwide caution” on Wednesday warning its nationals to remain vigilant following new reports of terrorist threats to American interests.

“The US government continues to receive credible indications that extremist groups and individuals are planning additional terrorist actions,” the State Department warned.

“Because security and security awareness have been elevated within the US, the terrorists may target US interests overseas.”

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