ASEAN adopts first anti-terror pact

Updated: 2007-01-13 17:49

Cebu, Philippines -- The ASEAN leaders signed here Saturday "ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism", the first and a legally binding convention on anti-terrorism.

In order to make the region safer, the ASEAN leaders adopted the historic convention on anti-terrorism. According to the signed document, ASEAN nations agreed to track movements of suspicious money or people throughout the region, and to allow for the extradition of terror suspects.

ASEAN member countries will take the necessary steps to " prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate, or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against" other member countries.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The 10 ASEAN countries agreed to strengthen their cooperation against terrorism in the following major areas:

-- Enhance intelligence exchange and sharing of information;

-- Strengthen capability and readiness to deal with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) terrorism, cyber terrorism and any new forms of terrorism;

-- Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice.

In a related development, the Philippine government is now fighting against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group that operates in islands in Mindanao.

Three bombs within hours of each other rocked the southern Philippines on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 27 others. The series bombings occurred amid warnings that Muslim militants may try to disrupt this weekend's Asian regional summits.

Al-Qaida-linked militants is a key security concern during the on-going ASEAN Summit, officials said more than 18,000 troops and police are securing the Cebu venues.

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