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ASEAN reaffirms commitment vs terror

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
ASEAN reaffirms commitment vs terror

In a joint communiqué issued Sunday for the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the grouping also welcomed the liberation of most parts of Iraq and Syria from IS militants. Mohd Rasfan/Pool Photo via AP

MANILA, Philippines - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations – through its foreign ministers – has reaffirmed its commitment to fight the Islamic State (IS) and prevent it from gaining a foothold in the region.

In a joint communiqué issued Sunday for the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the grouping also welcomed the liberation of most parts of Iraq and Syria from IS militants.

“In line with this, we reaffirmed our commitment to fight ISIS and other violent extremist groups to effectively curb their spread, as well as preventing them from gaining a foothold in the region,” the communiqué read, referring to IS by its variant.

In June or a month after the outbreak of hostilities in Marawi City, Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año said the Philippines might become a “magnet” for IS militants fleeing allied offensives in Mosul.

He claimed there were indications foreign fighters were attempting to come to the country to help like-minded militants, particularly those battling government troops in Marawi City.

In their statement, the ministers also reiterated the need for a comprehensive, just and sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East region.

ASEAN is urging both sides to actively take positive steps to allow for negotiations to gain traction and work together toward the resumption of negotiations to achieve an enduring peace.

“We fully support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people for an independent State of Palestine with the realization of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security based on pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the communiqué said.

The ministers said ASEAN is closely following recent developments in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

“Recognizing the good relations between ASEAN and GCC region, we ASEAN, as a friend of the GCC, are hopeful that the situation would unravel peacefully through diplomacy, dialogue and negotiation,” the statement said.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other countries severed their ties with Qatar in June, accusing the latter of supporting armed groups and their regional rival Iran, but Qatar said the charges were baseless.

In the joint communiqué, the ministers also pushed for the adoption of the revised comprehensive plan of action on counterterrorism in September at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime.

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