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Swedes close embassy as Kenyan terror alert rises.

Sweden closed its embassy in Kenya yesterday amid threats of terrorism and moved operations to the ambassador's home.

The move was based on warnings of possible attacks on diplomatic missions in Nairobi, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars-Olof Lundberg.

US officials and Western diplomats said intercepted communications among al-Qaida operatives in eastern Africa and other unspecified intelligence indicated terrorists may be plotting attacks on embassies or the residences of foreign officials in the capital, Nairobi. Lundberg said there was no direct threat against the Swedish embassy, but said the building also houses ten other embassies and the offices of British Airways and Israeli airline El Al.

The ambassador and other diplomats will work from home until the threat subsides, he said. Finland closed its embassy in Nairobi for the day and diplomats were urged to stay home. All British commercial flights to Kenya have been suspended following terror warnings.

The suspension of BA flights continues to hurt Kenya's economy and should be reviewed and reversed as soon as possible, the tourism minister said yesterday.

Raphael Tuju spoke after returning from Britain and the US where he discussed Kenya's efforts to address the security situation. He said both governments expressed satisfaction with the security measures taken.

On May 15 Britain suspended all British-registered flights to Kenya because of a specific threat to British airlines there.

'We are in agreement that the threat of terror is real and that a successful terror attack in Kenya would have a devastating effect on our economy and the tourism sector,' Tuju said.

'We are also in agreement that the continued suspension of BA flights to Kenya is bad for Kenyan business, is bad for British business and is bad for British Airways itself and therefore it should be reviewed and reversed as soon as possible,' he added.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:6KENY
Date:May 31, 2003
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