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NZ statement on APEC's counter-terrorism work

NZ statement on APEC's counter-terrorism work

Intervention made by Foreign Minister Winston Peters APEC Ministerial Meeting Retreat Hanoi, Viet Nam

New Zealand welcomes the consensus on extending the mandate of the Counter Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) for a further two years. It is clear that the threat posed by terrorists to security, stability and prosperity in the APEC region has not abated.

Given the number of counter-terrorism initiatives currently under consideration, it is equally clear that the CTTF continues to have a solid agenda in front of it.

I would also like to thank the Philippines for its generosity in making available the services of General Defensor as CTTF chair for the past two years. His experience and commitment to the cause of counter-terrorism has been a great asset to the Task Force. I am confident that his replacement, Ambassador Park Sang-ki of Korea, will make a worthy successor.

As a trading nation whose economic interests are intimately tied to the maintenance of a secure trading environment in the Asia Pacific region, New Zealand is pleased with the counter-terrorism initiatives agreed by members this year.

New Zealand participated actively in this month's workshop in Bangkok on mitigating terrorist threats to the APEC food supply. We will also look to participate in next year's Australian-hosted workshops on combating terrorist financing and money laundering, as well as engaging in APEC discussions on the development of an APEC trade recovery programme.

New Zealand was pleased to be able to play an active role this year in another important initiative, the Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS) pilot relating to the real-time tracking of lost and stolen passports – of which there are some three million estimated to be in circulation in the Asia Pacific.

New Zealand was pleased to chair the working group that developed the multilateral framework that provides for other economies to join this initiative.

Our experience to date of participating in RMAS has shown its potential to make a significant contribution to combating trans-national crime and terrorism, while facilitating the safe and efficient movement of legitimate travellers in the region.

In New Zealand's first four months of participation, some 160 alerts for invalid travel documents were recorded. I would encourage other member economies to give careful consideration to joining.

One area we might all agree to make a priority in 2007 is addressing threats to rail and mass transit systems.

Numerous tragic recent incidents, from Madrid to London to Mumbai, have demonstrated that terrorist organisations are targeting these systems, and that successful attacks can have catastrophic effects in terms of both loss of life and disruption to economic activity.

I would encourage all members to engage substantively on the issue early in the New Year.

ENDS

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