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Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith called Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi to condole with him personally and on behalf of the government and the people of Australia on the tragic loss of lives in the Lahore terrorist attack this morning.

The Australian Foreign Minister said that in this hour of grief, Australia stood shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan. He said that Australia and Pakistan were close friends. He offered to send to Pakistan an Australian team to assist in the ongoing investigations into the terrorist attack. In this regard he mentioned that Australia has developed counterterrorism expertise including handling of forensic evidence and CCTV footage.

Foreign Minister Qureshi thanked the Australian Foreign Minister and briefed him in detail about the incident. He also informed him that Mr. Trevor Bayliss, Australian Coach was safe and would be leaving for Sri Lanka along with the Sri Lankan team, later this evening. The Foreign Minister also informed his Australian counterpart that ICC Umpires Mr Stephen Davis and Mr. Simon Taufel had already left Pakistan.

The Foreign Minister also informed the Australian Foreign Minister that the Police’s response to the incident was swift and by laying down several lives they were able to protect the Sri Lankan team from any serious harm. He also informed him that the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister was scheduled to visit Pakistan tomorrow as a Special Envoy of the Sri Lankan President.

March 03, 2009

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