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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 09:33 GMT
Australia boosts embassy security
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
Mr Downer said the Jeddah attack showed the need for security
The Australian government has announced plans to spend A$590m ($450m) on boosting security at its overseas missions.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the move was aimed at protecting both staff and visitors to the embassies.

The new measure is part of a major review commissioned in the aftermath of the bomb attack on Australia's Jakarta embassy in September.

The bomb killed nine people, including a suicide bomber, and injured scores.

Speaking to the Australian parliament on Wednesday, Mr Downer said: "In this age of terrorism, we just cannot be too careful in providing protection for our diplomats and officials, as well as visitors to our missions overseas."

He said the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Jeddah on Monday, which killed nine people, demonstrated again that embassy buildings needed good perimeter security and hardened walls.

The improvements to Australia's embassies will be made over five years, beginning this fiscal year.

The plan includes the strengthening of perimeter barriers and the purchase of metal detectors and armoured vehicles.

Some embassies, including the Jakarta mission, will be relocated to other, more secure, areas.

Mr Downer said that the new funding was in addition to that already provided for the blast-proofing of windows, which took place after the Jakarta blast.

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