PostHeaderIcon Co-Chairs Report on ARF Workshop on Prevention of Terrorism, Bangkok, 17-19 April 2002

ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Prevention of Terrorism
Bangkok 17-19 April 2002

Co-Chair's Report

At the invitation of Thailand and Australia, participants of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) met in Bangkok on 17-19 April 2002 to consider how the ARF could enhance,  cooperation to counter terrorism. The agenda and list of participants are attached as Annex 1 and 2 respectively. Participants endorsed a set of recommendations attached as Annex 3.

2. Workshop participants welcomed the statement issued in October 2001 by the ARF Chair on behalf of all ARF participating countries stating that the ARF would address ways and means to cooperate in the fight against terrorism as the beginning of their common endeavour to combat terrorism. They also welcomed the successful ARF Workshop on Financial Measures against Terrorism co-hosted by the United States and Malaysia in Honolulu on 24-26 March 2002. Some participants recognised that development by the ARF of an effective response to terrorism would constitute an important step in realising the ARF's preventive diplomacy mandate.

3. Participants noted the global magnitude of terrorism, and that ARF and other countries were not immune to terrorist threats and attacks. They agreed that terrorism posed a serious long-term threat to national, regional and international security., and had potentially serious development and economic ramifications. This included possible damage to investment flows and tourist markets if ARF participating countries or the region as a whole were seen as not playing an appropriate part in the international fight against terrorism. Participants agreed on the importance of effective national legal frameworks and enforcement to counter terrorism. Some noted that maintaining and enlarging the international coalition formed after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 would be crucial to the success of the war on terrorism.

4. The workshop, having regard to these considerations, focused on the development of practical measures to counter terrorism. Participants reviewed lessons from the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, and policies and measures of ARF participating countries in combating terrorism. They discussed possibilities for enhanced cooperation on border control, including in addressing identity fraud and illegal movement of people through use of technologies and information sharing. They also considered best practice approaches to security management of major international events, including VIP protection, and to aviation security. In addition, participants took part in a discussion exercise focusing on a hypothetical terrorist incident to obtain a greater understanding of some of the issues and principles raised during the workshop.

5. Workshop participants concluded that greater exchange of information and intelligence, as at this workshop, and further cooperation among law enforcement and other relevant security agencies were essential tools in the fight against terrorism. They agreed also that training and exercises between and in ARF participating countries could contribute usefully towards the development of national and regional capabilities to prevent terrorism. Participants noted that a number of bilateral and other agreements and arrangements to counter terrorism and related transnational crime were in place already in the region, and that the ARF could pay a role in encouraging the scope of these to be extended multilaterally.

6. Participants acknowledged the international legal obligations falling on ARF participating countries pursuant to UNSC resolutions on terrorism, particularly UNSCR 1373, and the mandated program of action monitored and supported by the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee. They encouraged ARF participating countries to seek to implement relevant international standards including by acceding to the twelve UN counter-terrorism instruments, and by bringing to an early successful conclusion negotiations on the proposed Comprehensive Convention against Terrorism. Participants noted the nexus between terrorism and transnational crime, and endorsed the outcomes of the Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, held in Bali on 27-28 February 2002 and attended by all ARF participating countries.

7. The workshop identified several ways in which the ARF could respond practically to the security challenge posed by terrorism. Participants agreed that ARF participating countries be invited to submit to the ARF Chair summaries of measures taken nationally in response to the terrorist threat. They suggested that a check-list of these measures be complied, with a view to enabling the ARF to target more readily potential future areas for counter-terrorism cooperation. They also welcomed in this context Japan's intention to host a follow-up ARF workshop focusing on counter-terrorism measures adopted for the 2002 Football World Cup. Participants agreed that the ARF Chair be requested to make contact with other relevant regional organisations on the question of counter-terrorism, with a view to sharing experience and avoiding duplication of existing measures and activity.

8. Workshop participants recommended that this Co-chairs' Report on the ARF Workshop on Prevention of Terrorism be submitted to the Inter-Sessional Group on Confidence-Building Measures due to meet in Ha Noi on 22-24 April 2002, and the ARF Senior Officials' Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan on 16-17 May 2002 for further consideration and with a view towards its endorsement by ARF Ministers when they meet in Bandar Seri Begawan in July 2002.


ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Prevention of Terrorism
Bangkok 17-19 April 2002

Annex 3 : Recommendations

Participants recommended that ARF participating countries:

1. Submit to the ARF chair a list of relevant national counter-terrorism agencies and a summary of measures taken on a national, bilateral and multilateral basis in response to the terrorist threat, to enable the development of a check-list to identify potential future areas for ARF cooperation.

2. Reiterate support for an enhanced role for the ARF Chair in liaising with external parties such as heads of international organizations and track II organizations on the question of counter-terrorism.

3. Build on existing networks of law enforcement, immigration and other relevant security agencies to enhance information and intelligence exchange, including through electronic and other channels of communication.

4. Assist each other in developing national and regional counter-terrorism capabilities, including through cooperation with relevant regional and international institutions.

5. Further share their experiences and consult and draw widely on best practice in security-related matters accumulated by regional countries in organizing major international events.

6. Examine further the counter-terrorism and related best practice aspects of maritime and aviation security, among other areas, including through future workshops and seminars.