WASHINGTON – The State Department has asked diplomatic missions overseas to convene meetings to assess potential threats to Americans if a US church defies world opinion and burns copies of the Koran.
Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, on Thursday confirmed media reports about the request sent to US embassies and consulates around the world but gave no other details.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley recalled Wednesday that General David Petraeus, the commander of a US-led NATO force in Afghanistan, had spoken about his concern about how the planned Koran burnings may trigger a backlash against troops abroad.
"We have broader concerns about the welfare of diplomats and American citizens travelling around the world who might be caught in a tragic reaction to whatever might happen this weekend," he said.
US officials have led international calls for pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, to abandon his plan to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
© AFP 2013