Asian nations to sign anti-terrorism declaration with Canada

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations would sign the joint declaration with Canada on the sidelines of an annual meeting in Malaysia this week of the foreign ministers of the 10-member bloc, ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong said.

Canada is the last of 10 Western and Asian dialogue partners of ASEAN, including the United States, China and Japan, to sign such a declaration with ASEAN, Ong said.

The declaration calls for an exchange of information on terrorist organizations, their methods of attacks, weapons, financing and movement along with sharing of counterterrorism measures and experiences in each country, according to a draft of the agreement seen by The Associated Press.

It also calls for greater cooperation on the law enforcement front, including the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of terrorists.

The signatories would be encouraged to become parties to and enforce all U.N. conventions dealing with the battle against terrorism.

Terrorism became a major issue for Southeast Asia in October 2002, when bombings of nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.

That attack, and a bombing of a J.W. Marriott Hotel in Indonesia's capital in 2003, were blamed by authorities on Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian terror group linked to al-Qaida which has been accused of planning other attacks throughout the region.

Underlining regional concern about terrorism, the ASEAN foreign ministers are expected to issue a communique at the end of their meeting this week that would reiterate their "strong condemnation against terrorism in all its forms" and stress the need to address its root causes.