For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 21, 2003
New APEC Initiatives on Counterterrorism
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.