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SE Asia leading way on terror, says Australia

world Updated: Aug 02, 2007 13:57 IST

AFP
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Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Thursday praised Southeast Asia's role in fighting terrorism, saying the region was leading the way, from security cooperation to winning hearts and minds.

Speaking on the sidelines of Asia's main security summit, hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Downer said the region was "heading in the right direction" in its anti-terrorism fight.

"I don't think ASEAN countries get remotely enough credit internationally for what they're doing to counter terrorism," the foreign minister told AFP.

"Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines are doing a splendid job in the fight against terrorism," he said. "ASEAN is doing better than almost any other part of the world."

Downer, who was meeting with nearly 30 of his counterparts at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, said the region was especially good at police cooperation and sharing intelligence.

"There's something else they're very good at. They're very good at hearts and minds work, and building inter-faith dialogues, those kinds of things. They're doing it really well," the minister said.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.