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 Home > News & Policies > October 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 21, 2003

Fact Sheet
New APEC Initiatives on Counterterrorism

Presidential Action

  • Today, President Bush Led APEC Leaders in Committing to Strengthen efforts to protect civil aviation and enhance capacity to combat terror in the Asia-Pacific region.

Protecting International Aviation: Last November's failed attack against an Israeli commercial airliner in Mombassa, Kenya, reminded the world of the threat posed by shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles (man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS). Given the potentially devastating impact a MANPADS attack could have on lives and on the transportation and tourism industries, the APEC Leaders committed to:

  • Adopt strict domestic export controls on MANPADS; secure stockpiles; regulate MANPADS production, transfer, and brokering; ban transfers to non-state end-users; and exchange information in support of these efforts.

Leaders agreed to continue to strengthen national controls on MANPADS and review progress at next year's Leaders meeting in Chile.

Enhancing Capacity to Combat Terror: APEC Leaders have taken a number of significant steps recently to combat the terrorist threat, including the capture of the terrorist Hambali in Thailand and the successful prosecution in Indonesia of the Bali bombers. Nevertheless, many countries in the region need help to fight terror. To enhance counterterrorism capacity in the region, APEC Leaders agreed to:

  • Establish a regional trade and financial security initiative at the Asian Development Bank. This facility, the first of its kind at a multilateral development bank, will:
    • Enhance port security, including airports, cargo ports, and containers; and
    • Combat money laundering and terrorist financing in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering and other relevant bodies.

The United States committed to helping launch the initiative with a contribution of $5.4 million in funds and in-kind support. Japan and Australia have also pledged to contribute to this initiative.

  • Coordinate Counterterrorism Efforts: In order to assist APEC economies in fighting terror, APEC Leaders endorsed a U.S. proposal for APEC's Counterterrorism Task Force to collaborate with the G-8 Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG), which was established in June at the Evian Summit to coordinate capacity building assistance. This new linkage will enable both groups to identify high priority projects in the Asia-Pacific region in need of financial or technical assistance.