Bali

– in the House of Lords at 4:24 pm on 15th October 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords 4:24 pm, 15th October 2002

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. The Statement is as follows:

"With your permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a Statement on the bombings in Bali, Indonesia.

"Two bombs went off near the Sari club in Kuta, Bali, just after 11 p.m. Indonesian time on the night of 12th October. At the same time a bomb exploded in Denpasar, capital of Bali, near the United States consulate, and another at the Philippines consulate in Sulawesi. The Sari club was packed with people, mainly young, enjoying themselves on a Saturday night. The attacks appear to have been timed deliberately to cause the maximum possible injury and loss of life.

"First of all, I should like to express my deep sympathies and condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in this appalling terrorist outrage. The final toll of the dead and injured is unlikely to be confirmed for several weeks. But as of this morning, more than 180 people are confirmed dead, with hundreds more injured. Many of those who died were young Australians. Up to 30 British people may have died. Nine Britons are confirmed dead, with a further eight bodies yet to be identified, and 13 people still missing. Eight have been medically evacuated from Bali. Many more received hospital treatment at the scene. We are providing assistance, as we did after September 11th, to the relatives of British victims. This will enable those who wish to, to travel to Bali. We will provide help and support to them while they are there.

"This was an act of pure wickedness—horrific and brutal attacks which have left hundreds of families here and all around the world in shock and grieving. Last night the United Nations Security Council condemned the bombings in the strongest terms, calling them a threat to international peace and security. At the weekend I spoke to Prime Minister Howard and to the Premier of Western Australia to express my condolences, and I hope to speak to President Megawati later this week. I have also spoken to President Bush. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary spoke at the weekend to his Australian and Indonesian counterparts and is discussing the issues with Secretary of State Powell in Washington today.

"A team of specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Anti-Terrorist Branch has already flown to Bali, and more are on their way. United States and Australian experts are also on the scene.

"I should also like to place on record the Government's gratitude for the help extended by both the Indonesian and Australian authorities to all those from the United Kingdom who have been caught up in these dreadful events.

"We had no specific intelligence relating to the attack in Bali. We do not yet know for certain who carried it out. But we do know that there are groups of extremists active in the region, some of which have strong links to Al'Qaeda. These groups have worked with Al'Qaeda on attack plans in the past. We know that they have tried before to carry out major terrorist atrocities in the region, including in Singapore last December, when a massive attack planned against targets including the British High Commission was thwarted by the Singaporean authorities. I discussed this with the Prime Minister of Singapore when he visited London in April this year. He told me that had the authorities not discovered those plans, hundreds of people could have died.

"The Indonesian authorities have been conscious for some time of the growing threat from extremists in the region. Indonesia is a secular country, with a tradition of tolerance and moderate Islam of which Indonesians are rightly proud. But prior to 11th September, and especially afterwards, we identified the south east Asian region, including Indonesia, as an area with a real and present threat from groups linked to Al'Qaeda. The most prominent is Jemaah Islamiyah, which has a network stretching across a number of countries in the region, and which has to be one of the groups under suspicion for this atrocity. We are urgently considering proscribing that organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000.

"Earlier this year we put in place an enhanced package of counter-terrorism assistance for Indonesia, including specific programmes on intelligence, crisis management and aviation security. We offered assistance with bomb disposal and bomb scene management training.

"In June I met President Megawati in London to discuss how we could fight terrorism in Indonesia more effectively and we agreed to expand our existing programme further, drawing on the wide range of expertise in counter-terrorism that Britain can offer. We will do so in close co-operation with the United States and Australia as well as with the Indonesian authorities. We have set up programmes to help other governments in the region. In the Philippines we are training in counter-terrorism, hostage negotiation and police investigations. In Malaysia we are setting up training by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch, and in bomb disposal. We fully support the tripartite counter-terrorism agreement signed by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines earlier this year, which is designed to combat money laundering, illegal border crossing and the illegal trade in arms.

"Since 11th September, here in Britain we have enhanced our intelligence efforts, strengthened protection against rogue aircraft and shipping and clamped down on sources of terrorist financing. We have passed new anti-terrorist legislation. Internationally, we have put a new United Nations framework in place under United Kingdom chairmanship to ensure effective national and international action against terrorism and we have increased intelligence co-operation, strengthening existing partnerships and putting in place new ones across the world.

"So we have had a fresh reminder, if we needed one, that the war against terrorism is not over. During the past 10 days, there have been attacks in Kuwait and in Yemen. The threat to all people, at any time and at any place in the world is real.

"In the end, it is not just the families now grieving for their loved ones who suffer, but also the people of Indonesia, many of whom are already in poverty, who will have to face the devastating economic consequences of the attack. For the bombs and the fanatics who use them do not discriminate between young and old, East and West, black and white, Christian and Muslim. They will kill anyone of any race, creed or colour. They respect no frontier. They have no inhibitions in murdering the innocent; indeed, they rejoice in it. Because of the way in which they work, in small cells of fanatics; because their victims are the most vulnerable, people in a pub or a cafe, on a street or on holiday, discovering where and how they may strike next is hard.

"But the message that we send out is once again the same: one of total defiance—of determination, in the face of evil, to prosecute the fight against them the world over until, in time, they are defeated. Defeated, of course by intelligence, by police and even military action, but defeated also in the triumph of our values of tolerance, freedom and the rule of law over those of terror designed to produce bloodshed, fear and hatred.

"Some say that we should fight terrorism alone and that issues to do with weapons of mass destruction are a distraction. I reject that entirely. Although different in means, both are the same in nature. Both are the new threats facing the post-Cold War world. Both are threats from people or states who do not care about human life and who have no compunction about killing the innocent. Both represent the extreme replacing the rational; the fanatic driving out moderation. Both are intent on not letting people live in peace one with another; not letting us celebrate our diversity and work out our differences in an orderly way. They want to produce such disorder and chaos that from it comes a world in which religions, nations and peoples fight each other for supremacy. That is the true measure of what is at stake.

"The war on terrorism is indeed a war, but one of a different sort to the ones to which we are used. Its outcome, however, is as important as that of any that we have fought before".

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

Photo of Lord Strathclyde Lord Strathclyde Conservative 4:33 pm, 15th October 2002

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House for repeating the Statement. It is indeed a sombre day when a Statement on such a terrorist atrocity abroad will be followed later by one about terrorist intransigence here at home. As the Prime Minister said, never has vigilance and firmness of purpose been more needed. He is right to say that the threat is global, constant and urgent. However distant it is geographically, it is very near to us all.

I shall not seek to add to the words poured out in response to the massacre in Bali, but the hearts of all of us go out to the families and friends of those young British people who died—some of whom are to be found in this place. Our sympathy goes to those of all nations who have been struck down, but perhaps the noble and learned Lord might consider sending a particular message of sympathy and solidarity from this House to the Senate of the good and brave people of Australia—for so long our most close and trusted friends—who have been so brutally scarred. It must be our common resolve not to rest until we have seen the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice.

The nation expects unity at this time. It also deserves realism. I have been dismayed to hear certain voices say that the outrage in Bali somehow shows that we were wrong to be concerned about a threat from Iraq. As the noble and learned Lord mentioned during his repetition of the Prime Minister's Statement, the word "distraction" has been freely used by some here at home and by depressingly many in Europe. Like the Prime Minister, I repudiate that view. It fails to reflect the grim realities of the global challenge that we now face or the daily realities of what this country and the United States have been trying to do.

I see no evidence that a concern about weapons of mass destruction held by a dictator who has assaulted four of his neighbours and who rewards the families of suicide bombers is either ill-founded or a distraction. The Government are right to put pressure on Saddam Hussein to give up weapons of mass destruction and we on the Conservative Benches hope that they will maintain that pressure. Saddam Hussein knows all about terror. Bring together weapons of mass destruction and global terrorism and all mankind is threatened. So that is not a distraction; it is essential to our future security.

We must also have no illusions about the terrorist mentality. Terrorists do not read the manuals of human rights; for them, the sanctity of human life means less than nothing. Some laugh behind their sleeves at the idea of a war on terrorism. But it is a war. It is not a war that we declared; but it is a war that we must win. For if we do not win it, all the values in which we believe will be put in peril.

Perhaps I may ask some specific questions arising from the Statement that I hope that the noble and learned Lord will be able to answer, within the constraints of the need to protect our intelligence sources. Can he say more about the links between Al'Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah? Why was Jemaah Islamiyah not placed on the list of foreign terrorist organisations published by the United States' State Department, the European Union or, indeed, our Government? Should that not now be done urgently? What is the status of Jemaah Islamiyah today, according to the Government? What are we now doing to ensure that Indonesia deals with militant Islamic groups as effectively as have Singapore and Malaysia in recent years?

Does the noble and learned Lord know whether Jemaah Islamiyah has any resources in this country? If so, have its assets been frozen, before they are moved offshore? Finally, is he satisfied that organisations and agitators in Britain who declare the same support for the aims of Al'Qaeda pose no threat to our people?

We are again reminded by these events that the war on terrorism is a global war. It affects us all. We cannot dismiss it as some quaint American eccentricity—a view that itself is too often a by-product of anti-Americanism—because we must now believe that we are all targets. Scores of our citizens have already been made victims. We must fight back, and we must be ready to carry that fight to the enemy for as long as it takes to win. If the Government have the resolve for that, they may be sure that we on these Benches will not be found lacking.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Crosby Baroness Williams of Crosby Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 4:38 pm, 15th October 2002

My Lords, I, too, thank the Leader of the House for repeating a Statement made in another place by the Prime Minister on the terrible events in Bali. Perhaps I may also associate our party with the deep sympathy extended to the families and friends of those British citizens who lost their lives, but also of the many young Australians who lost their lives, and pay particular tribute to the courage of patients in the Darwin hospitals who cleared their beds to enable them to be used for casualties returning from the scene of the crime in Bali. Perhaps I may say a word about the Indonesians who lost their lives and, not least, the people of Bali itself, who will weep not just for the loss of paradise but the loss of their livelihoods.

In addition, I should add that this is not the first paradise that has been lost. Only a week ago I returned from Kashmir, another beautiful place that is being continually attacked by terrorists with help and support from outside. We would be very foolish not to recognise just how extensive is the terrorist network, and the way in which it particularly fastens itself upon those areas of the world that may well be the best hope for their citizens as regards moving out of a life of poverty. Indeed, both Bali and Kashmir are very good examples of the latter.

I believe that there was a strong indication that Indonesia was likely to become the scene of further terrorist activities. I should declare an interest as a member of the board of the International Crisis Group, which, on 8th August of this year, produced a study entitled, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia: The Case of the 'Ngruki Network' in Indonesia. The study sets out in great detail the way in which that network was created, and the way in which it has already been engaged over many months in terrorist activities, many of which were intended to create communal strife.

Literally thousands of Indonesians, both Muslim and Christian, have lost their lives in Aceh, in Kalamantan, in West Papua, and in Molucca, just to mention four of the islands that have virtually moved towards anarchy over the past few months. I believe that Western governments did not pay sufficient attention to the way in which this situation was building in Indonesia, not least because that country is now attempting, with great difficulty, to embark upon some necessary political reforms. The Prime Minister has let us know that he is in touch with President Megawati, the recently-elected president of Indonesia.

Can the Leader of the House say whether the Government still strongly support the attempts that President Megawati is making—for example, to establish civilian control over the police and to train the police to work with, not against, civilians, which is a very important part of dealing with terrorism? There is always a danger that we deal with terrorism by entirely military means and fail to recognise that cutting off the support on which it feeds is absolutely essential. Therefore, helping Indonesia towards political reform is an important part of that strategy.

When repeating the Prime Minister's Statement, the Leader of the House rightly said that Indonesia has been proud of being a tolerant and moderate Islamic country. It is vitally important that we do not lose the support of that moderate Muslim majority. I trust that the Government will identify with some of the aspirations of the democratically-elected Indonesian Government who are handling an extremely fragile and delicate situation. Can the noble and learned Lord assure us that careful attempts will be made to ensure that the paramilitaries in Indonesia, who have created tremendous opposition against the government of that country, will be reined in and not used as the major method of controlling terrorism? The paramilitaries in Indonesia have huge casualties among civilians to answer for.

Can the noble and learned Lord assure us that we shall continue to support, with aid, the efforts to train the Indonesian police in the proper handling of order? Can he also assure us that, as a crucial part of the second strategy against terrorism, we shall look again with our international partners at the disastrous consequences of reducing the help for education in that country that flowed from the economic crisis of 1998? That has led to a very substantial number of Indonesian Muslim children now being trained in what are known as madrasas in Pakistan and in Indonesia as pogroms—that is, religious fundamentalist schools—because they are free and there is often no secular educational alternative for these children to attend.

I have one further question for the noble and learned Lord with regard to the absolute importance of retaining the united support of the international community for the war on terrorism. The noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition in this House made reference to the comments made by my right honourable friend in another place about the distraction from the war on terrorism caused by the massive concentration on the issue of Iraq. I simply want to say that that concentration has been extreme. Although all of us agree that Iraq is an evil regime, this is a moment when we must use every last ounce of our effort and energy to try to get agreement in the Security Council on a common resolution to bring back the inspectors, without any conditions—a view that we all share. The alternative would be a divided international community and it is precisely on those divisions that terrorism most feeds.

Can the noble and learned Lord respond to a question about the Prime Minister's reference to the illegal trade in arms by telling us whether, following the outrage in Bali, Her Majesty's Government will now look again at the supply of legal arms to Indonesia because it is both legal and illegal arms that today feed so much of terrorism in South East Asia? We need to reconsider that extremely dangerous situation.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords 4:46 pm, 15th October 2002

My Lords, I am grateful for the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. The noble Lord made a most graceful suggestion that I shall adopt. I shall, today, have a letter sent on behalf of all of us. I am most grateful to the noble Lord for his imaginative suggestion. The noble Lord was absolutely right to speak about the necessity for continuing constant vigilance and firmness. I have to agree with him that our focused concentration on Iraq has not been a distraction. Iraq and international terrorism are not alternatives; they are both common threats, not only to those countries immediately affected but also to the United Kingdom, which is the prime responsibility of Her Majesty's Government.

Her Majesty's Government keep under constant review the sale of arms, but I remind myself that it is not illegal arms of any sort that caused the death and destruction that we are discussing this afternoon; to the best of my knowledge, we are talking about manufactured bombs.

The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, asked a number of questions about whether or not we had recognised over the past year or so the threat from extreme terrorism in South East Asia. I can tell your Lordships that we have. Along with our colleagues in the United States, and others, we have encouraged all governments in that region to act against networks on their own territory. There was significant success in the disruption of planned attacks in Singapore, to which I referred earlier. We have strengthened intelligence co-operation on counter-terrorism with the key countries in the region, as well as with our allies active there. Indeed, to deal with a particular point raised by the noble Baroness, we have set up specific programmes to help governments in the region; for example, training in the Philippines on counter terrorism crisis management, hostage negotiations, and police investigations.

In Malaysia training courses are being organised by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch, and there is also training in bomb disposal. In Indonesia we have planned aviation security training, crisis management training, and have offered bomb disposal and bomb-scene management training. In addition, officers from the Metropolitan Police have already arrived in Indonesia to offer their detailed, specialist expertise. So we have not been slow, though we have not been entirely successful because that is the nature of opportunistic terrorism.

As the Prime Minister indicated in his Statement, the Government are urgently considering the proscription of Jemaah Islamiyah under the Terrorism Act 2000, which is under active consideration. The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, asked about that organisation in this country. He was very scrupulous to advise me to keep within the limits of what might prudently be said about, for example, its assets. As on such occasions in the past, I am perfectly happy to have discussions on Privy Council terms with the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, the noble Baroness, and the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley, in which I shall give such information as I have.

I should point out to the House that we are in the very early stages of investigation. It is prudent sometimes not to jump to conclusions, which experience may sometimes show are not justified. I have information that there are connections and cross-connections between that organisation and Al-Qaeda, but I do not think it would be prudent of me to go further on this particular occasion.

I think that I have dealt with the questions put to me. I am deeply grateful to noble Lords on behalf of those who suffered. They are entirely innocent, young, carefree, guileless and guiltless. I echo what the noble Baroness said. We have to remember the terrible wounds which have been caused in Bali, a country, as many of us know, dependent on innocent tourism. The economic effects seem gloomy. We do not need to consider only death and injury but the wider ripples: the intended consequences of this mindless terrorism.

Photo of The Bishop of St Albans The Bishop of St Albans Bishop 4:51 pm, 15th October 2002

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for repeating the Statement. I am sure I can speak for my fellow bishops on these Benches in saying how much we deplore this barbaric and evil act of violence perpetrated on the island, its visitors and its people. There will be families throughout the United Kingdom—sadly, some are known already to us today—who will face the future with broken hearts but who, while in mourning, will long that the deaths of their loved ones should somehow be part of a new creation of meaning in our world. While feeling shock, anger and despair they will not want those who have been killed to have died in vain.

One of the awful paradoxes and ironies of the violence is that an extremist terrorist group may claim religious justification for its actions. If that happens, I earnestly hope and believe that the leaders of all religious faiths in this country, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and others, will want publicly and wholeheartedly to join in condemning this terrible act and this twisted abuse of the name of religion.

Terrorists want to blow us apart, literally and metaphorically. They want to injure, fragment and destroy. It seems to me, therefore, that it is the bounden duty of all religious and political leaders, and others, in our own country to make sure that those terrorists can never, ever achieve their aims. We do this not simply by condemnation but by doubling and redoubling our efforts to create just, peaceful and tolerant neighbourhoods in the UK and a just, peaceful and tolerant United Kingdom.

Evil—it is the only word that will do in these circumstances—thrives in darkness. To keep the light of truth, understanding and love burning—it requires much moral courage to be exhibited by believers and non-believers alike—is ultimately the only way to defeat evil. We on these Benches are totally committed to that way. Along with everyone else in this country, we would wish to extend our profoundest sympathy to all those who are bereaved and injured and offer them our heartfelt prayers.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I am deeply grateful to the right reverend Prelate for those remarks. I am sure we all concur with the theme. He is right. The appetite for terror is insatiable. Religious motives are not the motive engine. It is hate and envy. It is hate of something better than terrorists can conceive of; and it is envy for innocent happiness.

Photo of Lord Biffen Lord Biffen Conservative

My Lords, the appalling nature of the incident in Bali chills one when contemplating this latest development in the dispute relating to terrorism. I appreciate the somewhat measured references to Al'Qaeda by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal. Is there not plenty of evidence that Indonesia has been suffering from great discontent and conflict stretching back over a number of years? The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, mentioned the disputes in Aceh, the Christian-Muslim conflict in Amboina, and the fighting in West Irian, all of which underline the fact that Indonesia is not a natural economic or political entity. It is a creation of western imperialism.

One of the underlying anxieties must be the inability of an Indonesian state to play its part in dealing sufficiently effectively with terrorism. Perhaps I may ask this of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal. At some early date, perhaps we may be presented with an assessment of the underlying political and economic situation in Indonesia so that that may be taken into account as well as the specific tragedies in Bali.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I shall give the most careful attention to the suggestion in the latter part of the noble Lord's remarks.

I have been deliberately cautious about attributing blame because blame needs to be attributed on the basis of evidence not speculation. The recent history of Indonesia, about which the noble Lord and the noble Baroness spoke, is a matter of fact, and not of comment from me. On these occasions, one should sometimes guard, and advise one's self, against the temptation to jump to conclusions. I am grateful.

Photo of Lord Desai Lord Desai Labour

My Lords, I want to look to the future rather than dwell on the immediate tragedy. When such an accident takes place, people are often advised not to go in future to that country for tourism purposes. While such caution may be right immediately after the event, I hope that we shall reverse the advice as soon as possible and ask people to go to Bali. One way to fight terrorists is not to be bullied by them and to continue to act normally. I hope that the Foreign Office will do that as soon as possible.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, because I know my noble friend so well, I know that he made a slip of the tongue when he referred to "accident". If he said "incident", I am grateful. It is murder, wilful murder carried out deliberately, of young people who happen to be enjoying themselves. At present the Foreign Secretary has to adopt an extremely prudent stance. He has a duty to British nationals. The Foreign Office advice at present must be to advise against all travel to Bali, and holiday and non-essential travel to Indonesia. Plainly our diplomatic representatives on the ground there are liaising closely with the business community derived from the United Kingdom. I am happy to reassure my noble friend that as a matter of policy the Foreign Office reviews and re-reviews constantly its advice to travellers. We have seen that recently, for example, in Pakistan and India. However, at the end of the day if our nationals ask the Foreign Office for advice we must err on the side of caution and prudence. I take my noble friend's longer term point. The importance of tourism as an industry to Bali, where the income is very modest indeed, cannot be overstated.

Photo of Lord Howe of Aberavon Lord Howe of Aberavon Conservative

My Lords, I echo the expressions of horror and of sympathy conveyed already to the House. I hope that I shall not be misunderstood if I refer to one point which can give rise to anxiety. I refer to the risk of being confused or ill judged in our reaction to the complex of problems we are discussing. The threat posed by weapons of mass destruction is one important issue, not least in Iraq. Terrorism almost world-wide is a different threat. I hope that the noble and learned Lord will agree, in the calm, deliberate way in which he is responding to questions, that we must, at all costs, avoid confusion between those two components, which can—I do not mean to disturb my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition—be implicit, if we focus too much on the idea of a war against terror. They are two different problems, and we must avoid being provoked into any ill judgment on one side or the other by any possible confusion.

On the issue of weapons of mass destruction, we must, of course, unflinchingly sustain deliberate, well judged, united pressure along the lines already laid out, with as much support from the international community as possible.

On a longer timescale, the multi-headed hydra of terrorism will require co-operation on an even wider scale. I am particularly grateful for the sympathetic way in which the noble and learned Lord defined the way in which we are struggling to help Indonesia. I agree with everything that was said by my noble friend Lord Biffen about the difficulties that face that country. I am also glad that the international partnership against terrorism is embracing the wisdom that can be derived from a more stable society, such as Singapore. I had the opportunity of discussing some aspects of the situation with the chief minister there not long ago. He can give us enormous help, just as we can help a country such as Indonesia.

I urge the greatest possible caution. We must avoid confusion between the two problems in judging our reaction to each.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I take the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon. However, the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, did not exhibit confusion. The noble Lord said that vigilance must be determined, if we are to produce a proportionate response. I agreed with him on that. I also agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon, that that proportionate response will be different. It may, as the Prime Minister said in the Statement, involve a military response, or it may involve detailed, careful co-operation of the kind to which the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, referred. I hope that I was able to fill in some of the picture.

It is essential that the approaches taken should be multilateral. It is in our interest that they should be so. We must co-operate not in a spirit of dictation but in a spirit of true understanding and give any logistic support that we can.

International terrorism—or internal Indonesian terrorism, if that is what it proves to be—must be discussed and deliberated on differently from the question of weapons of mass destruction. However, they may elide one into the other; we do not know. Although I can point to the success in Singapore, one of our difficulties is that the failures of our vigilance—to use the words of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde—exhibit themselves in the deaths and injuries that occurred in Bali. The successes of our intelligence efforts cannot, in the nature of things, be trumpeted, nor should they be.

Photo of Lord Craig of Radley Lord Craig of Radley Convenor of the Crossbench Peers

My Lords, on behalf of all Cross-Benchers, I convey sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of this appalling outrage. I also thank the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House for his intention to include the Convenor in any extra briefing.

Can the noble and learned Lord reassure the House that the good relationship that we have had with the Indonesian authorities in the immediate aftermath of this appalling disaster will continue? Is he satisfied that there will be good relations in the future?

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley. I can confirm that we have had an increasingly productive relationship with the Government of Indonesia, particularly after 9th September. We are developing particular support by way of exchanges and training in areas in which the Metropolitan Police, in particular, are extremely well regarded all over the world. That is very useful.

Photo of Lord Blaker Lord Blaker Conservative

My Lords, I am sure that noble Lords will agree that it is important that we do what we can to assess the extent to which Al'Qaeda is connected with the attacks that we have been discussing. My noble friend Lord Biffen referred to attacks in other parts of Indonesia. Do we have evidence to connect Al'Qaeda, in addition, to the foiled attempt in Singapore or with the attacks in Yemen and Kuwait?

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I have no evidence that I can offer to your Lordships. The attacks in Kuwait and Yemen were very recent. There is a document, of which the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, will be aware, that purports to support the attack on the American marines in Kuwait and the attack on the French oil tanker in the Gulf of Yemen. I am always cautious. I do not regard such statements as being entirely based on truth. The statement may be an opportunistic attempt to muddy the waters; I do not know. I doubt that evidence will be forthcoming.

We must be cautious. In such murky waters, people play strange games, and, sometimes, it is foolish to be taken in by them.

Photo of Lord King of Bridgwater Lord King of Bridgwater Conservative

My Lords, I support the suggestion made by my noble friend Lord Strathclyde about the message to be sent to the Australian Senate. In one report, I saw that many New Zealanders were involved as well. I hope that the Foreign Office will consider to whom the messages should be sent, so that they cover all our concerns.

I also support what the noble Lord, Lord Desai, said. The noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House gave the impeccable reply that it was a matter of balance, and I accept that, at this stage, the action of the Foreign Office is correct. However, one of the real tragedies that could emerge from this situation is the economic collapse of Bali. Nothing that we seek to address today will be made any easier by an economic disaster that would affect all the people in that beautiful territory. Obviously, it is a question of judgment, but I hope that the Foreign Office will listen to the representations made by two noble Lords—to which the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House properly responded—and that it will, at the earliest possible date, give some permission and encouragement. The announcement made today has been shattering for the people in Bali.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I am grateful, as always, to the noble Lord, Lord King of Bridgwater. He will remember that it was on the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, that I sent a letter on behalf of the whole House to the Senate of the United States, immediately after 11th September. I know that it was well received. I will do as the noble Lord suggests and relate the message through my noble friend Lady Amos, who is in her place next to me. We shall see to that.

The issue of tourism does require a difficult balancing act. As it happens, I know Bali, having spent an extremely happy holiday there. One can see how important tourism is as one pays what are, in our context, relatively small sums to people whose daily life depends on it. I agree that, if one of the long-term consequences were to be economic collapse, it would be a firm victory for those who caused such wicked consequences.

Mayor Giuliani said that people in New York should go out and shop, go out and spend, go to the theatre and make New York what it was. We can learn from that.

Photo of Lord Lea of Crondall Lord Lea of Crondall Labour

My Lords, I do not intend to detract from the need to reinforce the war against terrorism. However, I must refer to the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, about the training of fundamentalists, the lack of education and the way that, even in a democracy such as Pakistan is becoming, fundamentalists are winning increasing support. There are millions of hearts and minds that are not with us.

Does my noble and learned friend agree that, side by side with reinforcing the war against terrorism, we must consider what we must do in Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, in parts of Africa and elsewhere to win over those hearts and minds? The incidents take place against a background in which—it is painful to say—millions are not with us.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, what my noble friend says is absolutely right. I tried to accept that in the propositions advanced by the noble Baroness. I can reassure my noble friend and the whole House that the Government's policy, through DfID and the FCO, is to stress the important factor that our aid must go in significant part to education, to take up the noble Baroness's point. So I do not dissent from what my noble friend said—although in the all countries he mentioned the problems are not uniform; they need to be dealt with in a subtle and discriminating way.

Photo of Lord Marlesford Lord Marlesford Conservative

My Lords, does the Minister agree that, in its wickedness and lack of discrimination, this terrible act compares all too closely with the Omagh bomb of August 1998? By a horrible coincidence, it compares also in terms of the number of United Kingdom citizens killed. At Omagh, 28 were killed, including a pregnant woman and two small children; the figure in this case is apparently 30.

The Minister referred to the need to protect this country. I for one believe that the arrangements for immigration and passport control in this country leave a great deal to be desired. I have given details, but as yet have received no reply from the Home Office. I should like to have the opportunity at some stage of talking to the noble and learned Lord privately.

Photo of Lord Williams of Mostyn Lord Williams of Mostyn President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I am not privy to the correspondence between the noble Lord and the Home Office. I can say truthfully and conscientiously that I try to reply to letters by return. If it takes more than a week, I regard that as a personal disgrace. I am more than happy to speak privately to the noble Lord.

As I said earlier, terror has an appetite which is both insatiable and irrational. I draw the noble Lord's parallel between Omagh and this incident. It is the slaughter of the innocents to make an allegedly political point. It is monstrous. We should be careful not to say in the press that "no one has claimed responsibility". I prefer the phrase: "No one has admitted these crimes".