Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines Agree to Step Up Cooperation to Combat Terrorism

Smoke comes from a burning building as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City in the southern Philippines on June 15. (Reuters Photo/Romeo Ranoco)

By : Sheany | on 11:33 PM June 22, 2017
Category : News, Terrorism, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed during a trilateral meeting on security in Manila on Thursday (22/06) to enhance cooperation to address the threats of terrorism and extremism in the region.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met with her Malaysian and Philippine counterparts, Anifah Aman and Alan Cayetano, as part of a collective effort to discuss a joint plan of action.

In a joint statement received by the Jakarta Globe, the ministers reaffirmed their desire to cooperate in developing a joint implementation of counterterrorism measures and strategies.

"The meeting reaffirmed their governments' commitment to effectively address existing as well as emerging transnational challenges and threats that have the potential to undermine the stability and wellbeing of the countries in the region," the statement said.

Islamic militants have held out for five weeks against sustained pressure from security forces, after a hostile takeover of parts of Marawi City in the southern Philippines.

Indonesia and Malaysia have expressed concern that militants could flee to nearby North Maluku and Sabah.

Official estimates have put the number of casualties in the Marawi siege at 369 people, among them 67 members of the security forces and 26 civilians.

The high-level meeting was attended by each of the three countries' defense ministers and police and intelligence chiefs.

The plan of action highlights and addresses different aspects underlying the increasing threat of terrorism and will attempt to tackle the root causes. This includes poverty, illegal drugs, crime and social injustice.

The three countries pledged to improve intelligence sharing, stop the flow of terrorist financing, weapons smuggling and movement, as well as containing the spread of terrorism and related content on the internet.

The countries will also engage in efforts to promote deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration programs.

Additionally, they will work to "counter the extremist narrative through education and community engagement," which they hope to achieve by involving religious leaders to promote tolerance, moderation and unity in diversity.

In the statement, the ministers expressed the view that transnational threats can only be effectively addressed through properly developed strategies and security and intelligence cooperation on a regional level.

The countries' foreign ministers will have a follow-up meeting in Indonesia in October.

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