A two-day meeting of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Terrorism was held in Nusa Dua, February 4-5. 2004. The gathering drew ministers for 23 Asia-Pacific countries, six international organizations and representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.
Funded by the Indonesian and Australian Governments, the meeting was opened by President Megawati Soekarnoputri and drew top level participation by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
President Megawati's Opening Address
During her opening address at the Conference, Indonesia's President Megawati Soekarnoputri emphasized the need for cooperation and coordination between the national components of the international intelligence community in order to fight the spread of terrorism. Recalling the Indonesian experience in the wake of the bombing attack on Bali of October 12, 2002, and the Marriot bombing in August of 2003, she emphasized how cooperation among international police and intelligence branches had helped to quickly bring the perpetrators and suspects to justice.
Transnational Response for a Transnational Threat
The general consensus of the delegates attending the meeting was that the threat of international terrorism has become a harsh fact of modern life demanding an internationally coordinated response. To this end, two working groups were established to continue the work of the Conference.
• A Law Enforcement Working Group – headed by Indonesia, to devise methods and protocols for information and intelligence sharing, mutual access to crime data, and practical experience sharing on operational issues.
• A Legal Framework Working Group – headed by Australia, will examine issues of mutual legal assistance, extradition of terror suspects, and the implementation of UN resolutions and conventions on counter-terrorism.
Bali's much-lauded Chief or Police, Inspector General I Made Mangku Pastika, was also asked to address the conference. Chief Pastika, Time Magazine’s Asian Newsmaker of the Year for his pivotal role in the investigation of the Bali bombing, told the conference to be prepared to adapt their thinking and strategies in meeting the terrorist threat. Quoted in the Associated Press he said, "we never know, the next terrorist attack could be in the form of sabotage or poisoning, so we have to be diversified in our thinking."
Chief Pastika's model of international police cooperation following a terror attack and its proven success in bringing over 30 suspects to trial is now being studied and emulated by police agencies around the world.
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