Aus PM expresses concern but her officials happy with CWG security

Published: Sep 23, 2010, 15:33 IST | Agencies

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Thursday said the government has issued a travel advisory for its citizens visiting New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, citing "high risk of terrorism" in the Indian capital.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Thursday said the government has issued a travel advisory for its citizens visiting New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, citing "high risk of terrorism" in the Indian capital.

Her concerns came even as Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) chief Perry Crosswhite, who is in New Delhi as part of the advance teams from member countries, wrote a letter to the 400-strong Australian team reassuring them that the security at the Village and the other venues "were extensive and well organised".

In Canberra, Gillard told reporters that more Australian officials will be travelling to New Delhi ahead of the Games that begin Oct 3. She stated there was widespread concern about the Games, which have been beset by health and security problems.

"As the government we seek to provide people with the best possible travel advice.

"Our travel advice has made clear that there is a high risk of terrorism in New Delhi. Since 2000 there have been at least 14 major terrorist attacks in New Delhi."

"The government provides publicly the best advice we can. We don't seek to hide anything. This comes down to a decision for individuals," Gillard said.

She said that though security at the Games was the Indian government's responsibility, Australian officials would be present there.

"We have also boosted the number of officials we have in New Delhi and we have others on standby," she said.

The prime minister made it clear that whether Australian athletes compete in New Delhi was a matter for each individual.

Earlier in the day Crosswhite said: "Overall, the impression gained by myself and our team headquarters members is that Games security is extensive and well organised at the Games village," Crosswhite said in a statement.

"From all reports this is the same situation at the Games venues and the airport and along the transport routes."

"Our position regarding Games security remains unchanged and we believe the security risk position for our team is at an acceptable level."

On the issue of cleanliness at the Games' Village, Crosswhite wrote he is confident the athletes' accommodation will be acceptable by the time athletes start arriving Monday.

"Essentially the newly constructed apartment blocks did not have the level of finishing which was expected, and many of the rooms and bathrooms had not been cleaned adequately," Crosswhite said in his letter to all Australian team members.

"Also, because of the current monsoon conditions, water had entered the building in a number of places."

"We are having all apartments professionally cleaned and we are confident that these will be in acceptable condition."

Some 7,000 participants and officials from 71 countries and territories are expected to attend the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games, India's biggest sporting event after the 1982 Asian Games it hosted in New Delhi.

 

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