Myanmar to join new Senior Officials Counterterrorism Policy Forum

Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations and National Security Advisor to the Union Government, U Thaung Tun yesterday attended the Third Sub-Regional Meeting on Counterterrorism and Transnational Security jointly chaired by Mr Mohammad Mahfud, Coordinating Minister for Political Legal and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Home Affairs of Australia. While addressing the event via videoconference, the Union Minister noted how the threat of terrorism and transnational crime had evolved in the context of COVID-19.
The Union Minister used the opportunity to call for enhanced multilateral cooperation including strengthened partnerships with relevant United Nations Specialized Agencies and INTERPOL, and for greater investment in and access to regional counter-terrorism capabilities, technologies, and tools. The Union Minister also drew attention to new and emerging forms of terrorism and cross-border criminality, including the misuse of digital technology, and cyber-attacks, calling for all present to ensure that social media platforms were not used to sow seeds of mistrust, or to spread terrorist-inspired disinformation, conspiracy theories, and propaganda. In this regard, the Union Minister drew specific attention to the elevated risk posed to the region’s youth who are today turning to e-learning platforms to continue their studies. The Union Minister also drew attention to the specific ongoing threat posed by Foreign Terrorist Fighters, relaying Myanmar’s experience with crimes committed by ARSA in 2016 and 2017 while also noting that “Myanmar rejects any attempt to identify terrorism with a particular religion or ethnic group” and that “while religion is often cited as a driving factor, other factors, including ideological, economic, social, and psychological factors, must also be seen as decisive.”
The meeting concluded with the issuance of a Joint Statement which included the creation of a new Senior Officials Counterterrorism Policy Forum, under the auspices of the Sub-Regional Meeting on Counterterrorism and Transnational Security.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The Union Minister was accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs.—MNA

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