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Australia Rejects Terrorist Demands On Iraq


10 September 2004 -- Prime Minister John Howard says Australia will not be cowed into pulling its troops out of Iraq in the wake of the terrorist bombing that targeted the Australian Embassy in Indonesia.

The blast yesterday in Jakarta, which killed nine Indonesians and wounded some 180 others, has been claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah.

The group has demanded that Australia pull its 850 troops out of Iraq.

Howard, speaking in Canberra, said Australia would lose control of its future if it allows terrorists to dictate its foreign policy.

"Think what you may about our involvement in Iraq, and people have different views and I respect those differences, but the day Australia allows her decisions on issues like that [Iraq] to be determined by terrorists or terrorist threats is the day that we surrender control of our future," Howard said.

Indonesian police said today they believe the attack was carried out by one or more suicide bombers.

Iran has joined condemnations the attack, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi calling the bombing "unjustifiable" and offering condolences to the victims.

(Reuters/AP/AFP)

For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".

For the latest news on the U.S.-led War on Terror, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The War on Terror".
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