British Minister Praises Security


Britain’s Minister of State for the Asia-Pacific region has praised the Bali authorities for improved security in the decade since the first Bali bombing.

Minister Jeremy Browne was in Bali last week to attend the Democracy Forum in Nusa Dua.

He said improved security had helped the island to attract more British visitors, with around 155,000 arriving each year.

“The number is rising. As Indonesia is becoming a better-known country, becoming more high-profile, people are reading more about it. I expect there will be more British people who will know and be more curious about Indonesia, so we expect the number to increase, which is good for this country because tourism is an important sector in the economy,” he said.

Twenty-eight British citizens were killed in the 2002 bombings in Kuta.

Browne said the UK authorities appreciated the security improvements made in Bali since that time.

“In terms of security, facilities and infrastructure, Bali has changed and modernised, but at the same time it succeeds in keeping its original character intact. That’s what attracts people here in the first place. We admire and respect the huge efforts that have been made by the Indonesian government,” he said.

Browne said the British government would continue to offer support to the Indonesian authorities in security issues, and he said that the UK authorities would also continue to work to ensure that its citizens were aware of important issues before travelling to Indonesia.

“We always tell people to be aware of local laws, customs and not to think that every country in the world has the same customs as Britain. They have to think about what precautions they might sensibly take. We want them to enjoy themselves on their holidays, but they need to look after their documentation carefully and need to obtain medical insurance,” he said, adding that the Bali authorities had shown an ability to improve facilities and security without entirely compromising the island’s character.

“We have to realise that there are security concerns and we have to be vigilant and mindful. These concerns should exist, but they shouldn’t overshadow the many positive aspects of Bali. Even people who don’t enjoy sitting on beaches will enjoy coming to Bali because it’s a good place to connect with your own inner feelings and peace,” he said.

“I think more people will come in the future because this is a very popular destination that combines beautiful scenery, warm and nice weather, peace and friendliness. Therefore, it’s important to address security threats.”

Browne visited the Bali bomb memorial in Kuta last Thursday after attending the summit.

“It’s appropriate to visit the site of the Bali bombing because it was a significant event for people in Britain and their families, especially the victims. That terrible event will live in the memory of those people, families and friends, who were killed and injured, for the rest of their lives,” he said.

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