Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Saturday denounced the Jakarta bomb attacks and backed the Indonesian government's efforts to fight terrorism.
"The ASEAN foreign ministers strongly condemn the bombings in Jakarta on 17 July 2009, which caused the loss of innocent lives and injuries," the statement said.
The group of ministers are gathered on the southern Thai resort island of Phuket, ahead of Asia's largest security forum.
Thailand, which was forced to abort the East Asian Summit (EAs) in Pattaya last April after anti-government protesters stormed the meeting venue, has invoked the Internal Security Act for two weeks on the island, mobilising 10,000 soldiers and police and banning all types of demonstrations.
Southeast Asian nations are revisiting the region’s security arrangements in the wake of the latest wave of terror attacks in Jakarta in Indonesia and in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines.
Two weeks ago, at least eight people were killed while dozens were injured in bomb attacks in the cities of Cotabato, Iligan and the capital town of Jolo in Sulu in Mindanao. Police and military officials blamed the attacks on suspected rogue Moro rebels and local recruits of Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is reportedly backed by the Al-Qaida.
Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretary-general, said talks have been ongoing among the region’s 10 member-states in a bid to strengthen regional cooperation on counter-terrorism and related security issues.
Surin said the meetings are currently focused on the adoption of mechanisms regarding the arrest and repatriation of terror suspects currently based in neighboring countries.
Surin said the recent terror attacks and concerns on regional stability will also be on top of the agenda of various high-level meetings related to the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) and the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) that will formally open at the Laguna Sheraton Grande Hotel in Phuket on Monday.
The participating foreign ministers are expected to adopt a number of documents, including the ARF Vision Statement, the ARF Work Plan on Counter Terrorism and Transitional Crime 2009-2010 and ARF Work Plan on Disaster Relief 2009-2011.
ChannelNewsAsia, ASEAN ministers condemn Jakarta bombings, 18 July 2009, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/443276/1/.ht...
Minda News, ASEAN members reviewing security cooperation amid bombings in Jakarta, Mindanao , 20 July 2009, http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6700&...
The Star Online, Asean condemns bombings in Jakarta, 18 July 2009, http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/7/18/nation/200907181743...
The Star Online, Order to beef up security, 20 July 2009, http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/7/20/nation/4353919&sec=...
Phuket Gazette, Phuket still safe despite Jakarta bombings , 17 July 2009, http://www.phuketgazette.net/archives/articles/2009/article7575.html