Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines reaffirm commitment in combating terrorism

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines during a trilateral meeting in Manila, Thursday, reaffirmed their commitment in enhancing cooperation in addressing the common threats of terrorism and violent extremism confronting the region.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, H.E. Dato Sri Anifah Hj. Aman, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Alan Peter S. Cayetano met in Manila on Thursday to discuss the prevention of security problems in southern Philippines from impacting the other two countries.

Quoted from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministrys website on Thursday, the trilateral meeting yielded a joint statement which reaffirms the three governments commitment to effectively address existing as well as emerging transnational challenges and threats that have the potential to undermine the stability and well-being of countries in the region.

"The message that Indonesia will bring (to the meeting) is that although law enforcement efforts is important to tackle terror issues, other soft power aspects, such as empowerment and education, must not be abandoned as well," Spokesperson of Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arrmanatha Nasir has said earlier this week.

During the trilateral meeting, the Ministers raised concern over the recent incidents of terrorism and violent extremism in their countries, and reaffirmed their desire to work together to jointly develop and implement counter-terrorism measures and strategies.

The Ministers reiterated their shared view that success in effectively addressing transnational threats can only be achieved through the proper development of strategies, and cooperation in security and intelligence on a regional scale.

The trilateral meeting, which also involved each countrys military commander, police chief, counter-terrorism unit, and intelligence agency, was part of the 2016 Joint Declaration in Yogyakarta between the three countries under the initiative of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The first trilateral meeting has resulted in the implementation of coordinated maritime patrol and operational of Maritime Command Center (MCC) at the Tarakan Naval Main Base, North Kalimantan.

According to the Director of Indonesian Citizens Protection of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the standard operating procedure (SOP) from last years meeting, in an attempt to maintain security in Sulu and its surrounding waters to prevent capture of fishermen or ship crew, can be extended to stem the spillover effect of the terrorists from Marawi to surrounding countries, including Indonesia and Malaysia.

"This second trilateral meeting has a strong foundation, and so we are optimistic that (the results of) this meeting will be more operational or workable in the short term," Iqbal noted.(*)