170 Resident Danes Back in Indonesia

Some 170 resident Danes are currently staying in Indonesia either because they never left or because they have already returned, says Lars Thuesen, spokesman of the Danish Ministry or Foreign Affairs, Tuesday afternoon.
   “The actual figure may be a bit higher as more start returning from Singapore,” he adds.
    The 170 Danes represent roughly two thirds of the 250 Danes who had registered themselves at the Embassy of Denmark before the drawings became an issue. Since the crisis, a few more have joined the list. (Non registered Danes may click here.)
    By now there should also be less than 150 Danish tourists in the country, Lars Thuesen says. Many have been reached with the cooperation of the mobile phone operators, who can track the location of specific numbers, he adds.
     It was threats to “sweep the Danes” which last week led the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs to decide to encourage even resident Danes to leave Indonesia, Lars Thuesen explains. What was supposed to happen to the scooped up Danes he doesn’t know.
    “The websites, where the threats were published, were not that specific,” he adds, revealing that the threats were published and not merely verbal.
    Using the travel advice to encourage the resident Danes to leave the country was an unusual procedure, Lars Thuesen says. Usually the resident Danes are considered to be well-informed and alert enough to know best how to take care of themselves. It was, however, the specific and credible nature of the threats which led the ministry to take the decision, Lars Thuesen explains.
    Ambassador Niels Erik Andersen defends why some of the details, that went into the decision last week to encourage the resident Danes to leave Indonesia, cannot be disclosed. If the information was released, this would also reveal the ministry’s sources of information, he explains.
    “We have sent in our reports, which I certainly believe have contributed to the picture, but the full picture is in the Ministry where they put all the pieces together. They have other sources of information both inside this country and in other countries. They then make heir decisions based on an evaluation of all the information available to them,” he explains.
    Niels Erik Andersen has received many calls from Danes asking for clarifications as to specifically what threats we are talking about. They would like to be able to better judge for themselves how important they think the information is and how relevant it is for them in the place they are staying.
    “I have received many calls like this,” the ambassador says.
    “I can only tell them the same as I have just told you. If they need to know more I tell them to call the ministry themselves, where the decision is made.”

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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