Thursday, April 24, 2008

Danish diplomats relocated over cartoon threats


Denmark, which has moved its embassy staff in Algeria and Afghanistan to secret locations due to threats linked to the Mohammed cartoons row, said Wednesday it could do the same elsewhere.
Denmark closed its embassy offices in Algiers and Kabul this week and staff were placed in secure buildings in secret locations following threats related to the reproduction in February of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Danish media, the ministry said.
The two embassies were however continuing their operations, conducting business by telephone and email.
"I cannot rule out closing other embassies, because there is a general threat from Al-Qaeda. They have cells and sympathisers around the world who look to carry out attacks," Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller told Danish television station TV2 News.
"We should remain vigilant so that this does not happen, and we need to be more intelligent than they are to ensure they do not attack us, but we also need to remain on site," he said.
This was the price to pay "for a country which does not back down, which promotes freedom of expression, and which is active in Iraq and Afghanistan," Moeller said.
Denmark has advisers and troops deployed in these countries.
A message attributed to Osama bin Laden in March warned Europe of a "reckoning" for the publication of cartoons of the prophet in the Danish dailies. (Middle East online)


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