Chair's Summary of the Fifth ASEM Conference on Counter-Terrorism
15-16th May, 2007
- The 5th ASEM Conference on Counter-Terrorism was held in Tokyo, Japan on 15-16th May, 2007. The conference was to follow up and to further build on the results of previous ASEM Conferences on Counter-Terrorism held in Beijing (2003), in Berlin (2004), in Semarang (2005) and in Copenhagen (2006) guided by the ASEM Copenhagen Declaration on Cooperation against International Terrorism adopted at ASEM4 in 2002. Participants were representatives from ASEM partners as well as relevant counter terrorism institutions; The International Law Enforcement Academy-Bangkok (ILEA Bangkok), The Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), The South East Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The conference was chaired by H.E. Mr. Akio Suda, Ambassador in charge of International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, Japan, with the support of two Working Groups chairs, China and Denmark. The conference welcomed the participation of new ASEM partners, Bulgaria, India, Mongolia, Pakistan and Romania, to the meeting.
- The conference recognized terrorism as a threat to all citizens and nations as well as to international peace and security in Asia, Europe and beyond. It strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, irrespective of background and motivation. The conference, recalling the commitments made by leaders at the ASEM Summit in September 2006 to the fight against terrorism, underlined the importance of a comprehensive approach from the international community to fight terrorism, carried out in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Charter, respecting human rights, and international humanitarian law. Equally, the conference emphasized the rejection of any attempts to associate terrorism with any religion, race, nationality, or ethnic group.
- The conference shared recent terrorism threat assessments and recognized that, while the international effort to combat terrorism has achieved significant progress, terrorism remains a serious threat to international peace and security. The conference recognized the need to further enhance counter-terrorism cooperation including information sharing, tightening immigration/border control, and combating terrorist financing, terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist use of media, particularly the internet.
- The conference recognized the importance of strengthening counter terrorism capability of each ASEM partner. The conference also underlined the need for a concerted effort by the international community to counter terrorism which includes political, economic, diplomatic, legal and other means. In this context, the conference called for further enhancement of intra- and interregional cooperation. The participants shared information on the assistance needs and assistance schemes of ASEM partners, regional counter-terrorism centers and the United Nations with a view to strengthening ties between Asia and Europe in order to fulfill the potential of their assistance cooperation.
- The conference reiterated ASEM's firm supports for the leading role of the United Nations in the fight against terrorism. It welcomed the adoption of the General Assembly Resolution on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in September 2006 and reaffirmed the ASEM partners' commitment to cooperate in order to ensure their full implementation of the Strategy. In this context, the conference emphasized the importance of the role of the UNCTC/CTED, Al Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee and the UNODC. The conference called for states to become parties to and fully implement all UN Conventions and Protocols on international terrorism as well as relevant UN Resolutions. In this context, the conference noted that the UNODC can play a complementary role of providing assistance to countries for becoming parties to and implementing the universal counter-terrorism instruments. The conference urged for the early conclusion of the negotiations on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The conference welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Counter Terrorism Convention in January 2007 as a regional tool reinforcing the international effort to strengthen the counter terrorism legal framework.
- The conference emphasized the need for broadening and enhancing mutual understanding among cultures and civilizations and, for this purpose, to promote interfaith, inter-cultural, inter-civilization, and inter-media dialogue among ASEM partners as well as international community to promote public awareness and support. The initiative of the Alliance of Civilization can contribute to that end. The conference underscored the importance of efforts to prevent radicalization. The conference shared information on the measures taken by ASEM partners in this regard. In this context, participants recognized the significance of empowering the public to reject terrorists' ideology. They also expressed support for the victims of terrorism.
- The conference further suggested that the following steps be taken by ASEM countries:
- cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to promote comprehensive, coordinated and consistent responses through information sharing and building adequate counter-terrorism capacity.
- efforts to address the issues of conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, which include poverty and education, recalling the importance of peaceful settlement of conflicts, human rights and rule of law.
- development of capacity building and technical cooperation programs/activities to complement regional and international activities.
- promotion of interfaith, inter-cultural and inter-civilization dialogue.
- recalling the importance of using appropriate terminology when discussing counter-terrorism issues so as not to inadvertently create misunderstandings.
- working for the full implementation of the Global Strategy on Counter-Terrorism on the international, regional and national levels in close cooperation with the United Nations Secretariat.
- cooperation with the United Nations Counter Terrorism committees to ensure full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and other universal counter-terrorism instruments.
- calling for the ratification of, accession to and implementation of all the existing international conventions and protocols on international terrorism.
- seeking the early conclusion of the negotiations on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
- enhancing cooperation with regional counter-terrorism centers.
- completing and updating annually ASEM contact point for analyzing and implementing ASEM recommendations, and submit this information to China.
- The conference looked forward to the next ASEM Conference on Counter-Terrorism to be hosted by Spain in 2008.The results of this conference will be presented at the Eighth ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting on 29-30 May 2007 in Hamburg, Germany.
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