US Embassy Reopens With Better Security

The US Embassy is expected to reopen today after being closed since Sept 10 amid worries that the sprawling compound could be a terrorist target, Charge d’Affaires Alex Arvizu said Wednesday.

“We’ve always said we would not reopen until we felt certain security enhancements are in place and we’re prepared to reopen. We’ve taken some measures,” Arvizu said.

He would not say what specific security improvements have been made to the embassy, but the embassy on Wednesday was surrounded by fencing and guard posts at each of the entrances were heavily sand-bagged. Em­bassy vehicles blocked the en­tran­ces and were only moved out of the way for traffic coming into or leaving the compound.

Arvizu said the government has cooperated, and on Wednes­day there appeared to be an increased number of local police on duty. He also said that procedures for those visiting the em­bassy would change very little.

“You certainly can expect the same level of screening,” he said.

An alleged al-Qaida leader confessed earlier this month to US authorities that Cambodia was one of eight Southeast Asian countries where large-scale at­tacks could take place against US interests on or around the one year anniversary of the Sept 11 terrorists attacks in New York and Washington.

And a US State Department report listed the US embassies in Phnom Penh and Vietnam as being the most vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“We can’t rule out taking a response to a situation if it warrants it,” Arvizu said of future security concerns.


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