Fight vs terror, violent extremism high on ASEAN agenda – DFA

MANILA-- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers are expected to extensively discuss terrorism and violent extremism during this year's ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

"Definitely, counterterrorism and countering violent extremism is high on the agenda of ASEAN and we expect the ministers to have a fairly extensive discussion on the topic," DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said at a Palace briefing.

The DFA official pointed out that as chair of the 50th ASEAN meetings, the Philippines has been very active in pushing for a united front in fighting terror and extremism.

He said that under the auspices of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) last February, the Philippines and the European Union co-chaired a workshop on mainstreaming countering violent extremism in Brussels.

"That's part of the commitment of the Philippines to find a way for ARF and ASEAN as well to cooperate in addressing violent extremism and terrorism. And we also have a very active intercessional meeting on counter-terrorism and transnational crime in ARF," Bolivar said.

"And we expect these intercessional meetings to report to the ministers the outcomes of their activities for the last year. And also, we expect the ministers to approve activities that are planned for the next intercessional year, so from August to the next year," he added.

Foreign ministers and senior officials from 27 countries will gather in Manila for the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and Related Meetings at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) August 2 to 8.

According to Bolivar, the annual AMM and its related meetings bring together the foreign ministers of ASEAN; ASEAN Plus Three which is China, Japan, Korea; the East Asia Summit; and the ASEAN Regional Forum as well as the Post-Ministerial Conferences where ASEAN meets with each of its 10 dialogue partners.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will chair the 50th AMM; the 18th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting; the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting; and the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum.

ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Source: Philippine News Agency