Opening Statement by H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
At the Sub-Regional Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Jakarta, 5 March 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour and privilege for me to welcome you on behalf of the Government and people of Indonesia to this Sub-Regional Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism in Jakarta. Your presence here today reflects your strong commitment to the fight against terror that we articulated together at the Bali Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism in 2004.
Like that watershed Ministerial Meeting in Bali, this Conference is co-hosted by the Government of Australia and my Government. We in Indonesia are profoundly grateful for Australia’s full cooperation and involvement in this joint effort. We also deeply appreciate the enthusiastic participation of the Governments of Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
As Governments of countries under threat of terrorist networks, some of us having suffered the devastation of terrorist carnage, we owe it to our citizens to wage an effective battle against terrorism. For when terrorists are successful, they not only manage to kill large numbers of people, they also paralyze societies and destabilize political systems, and they wreck economies.
They must not be allowed to succeed. We must stop them in their tracks without, however, resorting to repressive and undemocratic measures, such as violation of human rights and disregard of due process of law.
That is why we are holding this Conference. That is why we have pursued an intensive follow-up to the Bali Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism.
During that Ministerial Meeting, we agreed to establish the Legal Issues Working Group (LIWG) and the Law Enforcement Working Group (LEWG). The work of these two Working Groups has become known as the Bali Counter-Terrorism Process.
My colleague the Foreign Minister of Australia and I recently issued a report that summarized the achievements of the Bali Process. At the same time we called on all participating countries to consider additional activities and endeavours that can be implemented on a regional and sub-regional basis in order to advance the Bali Counter-Terrorism Process.
It is therefore our hope that this Sub-Regional Ministerial Conference will find ways and means of deepening our current counter-terrorism cooperation in the sub-region and of addressing the emerging challenges.
Our cooperation in law enforcement, border control and the enactment of legislative frameworks for counter-terrorism has made significant progress since we met in Bali three years ago. We were then responding to tragic and critical events such as the Bali bombings; and we were beginning to develop a wide range of regional counter-terrorism mechanisms.
Those mechanisms have proven to be very effective in facilitating cooperation, mutual assistance and joint operations among ourselves and other countries. The Bali Counter-Terrorism Process, for instance, has established strong bonds of collaboration among legal and law enforcement practitioners in the region.
Thus we have devised ways for building capacities in key legal and law enforcement sectors. We have developed practical solutions to some of the challenges facing effective national and regional counter-terrorism efforts. For instance, the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) has, for several years now, provided structured training for law enforcement officers of the region. It has also served as a venue for various specialized regional workshops, with intensive focus on counter-terrorism.
The Indonesian Government has been greatly helped by these mechanisms as it continues to seek the cooperation of other countries, especially ASEAN countries, in the fight against terrorism. This common effort reached a high point with the signing of the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism by the ASEAN leaders at their 12th Summit Meeting in Cebu, the Philippines, in January 2007.
We have a long way to go before we achieve a final victory over terrorism. While we have been enhancing our cooperation and enlarging our capabilities in the fight against terrorism, the terrorists are also making their own adjustments. They have also been evolving new strategies and tactics that have them an even greater threat to peace, security and progress.
We must therefore remain vigilant and innovative in our responses to this threat. We must continue to improve our methods and fine-tune our mechanisms in the fight against terrorism. We must continue to enhance the format of the dialogues we are holding to counter the clever and seductive propaganda of the terrorists.
We must devise more effective ways of denying the terrorists access to deadly weapons, especially weapons of great killing power. And we must get ourselves organized to cope with the tragedy that can ensue if and when, may God forbid, terrorists manage to inflict massive numbers of casualties.
There is a great deal at stake in this Conference and in every effort of ours to combat terrorism. Indeed, no less than the long-term peace, security and stability of our region are at stake. No less than the future of our societies hang in the balance.
Given your commitment and the rightness of our cause, I am confident that our deliberations will be constructive and fruitful.
I thank you.