Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano represented President Duterte during the two-day special summit held in Sydney that started on Friday. AP Photo/Rick Rycroft
MANILA, Philippines — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) yesterday signed a cooperation agreement with the Australian government to boost counter-terrorism efforts in the region.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano represented President Duterte during the two-day special summit held in Sydney that started on Friday.
Cayetano, along with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other ASEAN leaders, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi.
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The MOU aims to strengthen regional efforts to counter terrorist activity, assets and funding, as well as threats to stability, safety and security.
In a statement, Turnbull said the signing of the agreement demonstrates Australia and ASEAN’s joint resolve to stand together against those who seek to divide communities and nations.
“ASEAN nations have a strong record of working together to confront violent extremism and defeat terrorist organizations. In recent years the threat posed by returning foreign fighters and ISIL-linked extremists has grown. It makes today’s cooperation all the more important,” he said, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms.
“The MOU is supported by a suite of programs, including technical and regulatory assistance to develop best practice counter-terrorism legislation, and regional dialogues and workshops on topics such as electronic evidence, financial intelligence, and countering online radicalization,” he added.
The agreement includes technical assistance from Australia to develop and implement counter-terrorism legislation consistent with international standards and best practice; a series of regional dialogues and forums with ASEAN and Australian law enforcement partners; training and education for law enforcement partners on technology-enabled crime in detecting and disrupting terrorist activity.
An ASEAN-Australia electronic evidence workshop for investigation and prosecution personnel, focusing on the use of internet-base d material as evidence in terrorism-related prosecutions, will also be conducted as part of the partnership.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Cayetano met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the summit. / Philstar / Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) – March 18, 2018 – 12:01am