Britain evacuates Indonesia embassy over security

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The British embassy in the Indonesian capital has evacuated its staff after the Jakarta administration ordered anti-terrorist vehicle barriers to be removed from an adjoining road, reports said Friday.

"This is due to circumstances specific to the security arrangements for the site of the embassy building. We're now working off-site in various places," embassy spokeswoman Faye Belnis said.

"It's not because of a specific threat or a change in the threat level in Indonesia," she said.

The Jakarta Globe said the staff were likely to remain working off-site until the mission's new building in Kuningan, South Jakarta, is ready around mid-2013.

Belnis said they were working with the Indonesian authorities to find a solution so they could move back into the premises.

"However, this situation is inevitably causing disruption to our service delivery, which is likely to get more significant the longer the situation continues," she said.

On its website the British embassy said it had to close the building for operational reasons.

Twelve people, including a suicide bomber, were killed when an explosives-laden van exploded in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004.

Extremists targeted Westerners in the 2002 Bali bombings which killed more than 200 people and 2009 attacks on the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.

Indonesia, the biggest Muslim-majority country in the world, is struggling to deal with the threat of homegrown Islamist militants who oppose the country's secular, democratic system and aim to create a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia.

© 2011 AFP

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