Spokesman: Embassy Threat No Cause for Alarm

A recently reported threat to at­tack Western embassies in Phnom Penh was likely made by an individual angry with the US in­vasion of Iraq and was probably not a warning by an international terrorist group, Interior Ministry spokes­man Khieu Sopheak said Wednes­day.

The threat should not be cause for alarm, he added.

International news outlets, picking up on a report in an Australian news­paper, reported Monday that a suspected terrorist group identifying itself as “Allah” had threatened to attack the embassies of Aus­tralia, Canada, the US and other Western countries both in Cambodia and elsewhere.

“Don’t be worried,” Khieu Sop­heak said by telephone. “The bar­k­ing dog does not bite” he said.

Attacks by al-Qaida and Jema­ah Islamiyah in New York and Ba­li have shown that terrorist groups that are seriously planning to at­tack targets don’t give advance war­nings, Khieu Sopheak said.

Khieu Sopheak said that the threat was originally made in an e-mail message sent from Cam­bodia to the Canadian Embassy in Bang­kok. The e-mail was forwarded to Cambodia’s Interior Ministry by Thai authorities in April, he said.

“Cambodia is a peaceful country not harmed by terrorist activity,” he said.

Though the government is continuing to investigate the threat, Khieu Sopheak said that he was con­cerned that widespread media re­ports about the threat will damage Cambodia’s international reputation and ward off tourists.

The Canadian Embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed Wednes­day that the e-mail was originally re­­­ceived by Canada’s embassy in Bang­kok but declined further com­­­ment because the issue is related to se­curity.

The Australian and US embas­sies both declined comment on Wednesday.

Australian Foreign Minister Alex­ander Downer said that security at the Australian Embassy was boosted following the threat, which CNN reported Monday.

But security guards at the em­bassy said that they had not re­ceived official notification of the threat and added that the number of guards outside the embassy has not recently been increased.




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