Friday, October 23, 2009

Southeast Asia's Effort to Counter Terrorism

US Deputy State Secretary Steinberg said the killing of Malaysian terrorist Noordin Top ( Indonesian police) has a positive impact on Southeast Asian countries' effort to fight against terrorist activities. He said that the fact Noordin was shot dead has fully confirmed the determination of countries in the Southeast Asian region in wanting to eliminate terrorism.

At a press meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg said that in the fight against terrorism, Malaysia and the United States have a strong relationship. He said the existence of terrorism is a potential threat to each and every nation. Such a threat has also reflected the need for all countries to continue strengthening cooperation among one another to curb the spread of terrorism. "Combating terrorism requires sustained efforts. We should work together. I believe that eventually we can make terrorism collapse completely."

North Korean Nuclear Program
Accompanied by senior White House officials, the US Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg paid one day official visit to Malaysia. When US Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib, both leaders discussed Malaysian-US bilateral issues such as trade, regional issues, and international issues relating to Iran nuclear weapons, North Korean Nuclear Weapon Six Party Talks and political situation in Myanmar.

In his address to the Malaysian media, Steinberg fully affirmed Malaysia's effort in fighting against sea pirates, and to prevent human trafficking activities. Steinberg stressed that the United States considered Malaysia as an important partner in ASEAN and that Malaysia also plays an important role in regional affairs.

In response to media query on the progress of the Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement, Steinberg said that the two countries would continue to have bi-lateral trade dialogue. He hoped both nations could reach a consensus on free trade agreement. Meanwhile, Steinberg said the most important thing for the United States to do first is to focus on promoting the bilateral trade relations and to further enhance the bilateral trade volume.

Extradition of Malaysian Prisoners Issue
However, in answering media query, Steinberg said when he met with Prime Minister Najib, they did not specifically talk about the issue of extradition of Malaysian prisoners being held in the US Guantanamo Bay prison to Malaysia. However, he said that the United States has appointed a special task force to deal with the issue comprehensively and that if there is any progress, Malaysia will be informed.

Since 2003, two Malaysian citizens identified as Mohd Farik Amin and Mohammed Nazir have been arrested by the United States and they are kept at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Allegedly they were involved in Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network activities and in the al Qa'ida terrorist network activities. Former US government led by President George Bush claimed that they attempted to participate in the al Qa'ida plan to stage terrorist attack in Los Angeles area.

No comments: