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Terror, radicalisation figure prominently at ASEAN meets

Manila, Nov 15 (UNI) The fear of "dying suddenly" and terror threats dominated proceedings at the ASEAN and related Summits that came to a gala end here yesterday, the host and outgoing chair of the South East Asian countries' bloc President Rodrigo Duterte has said here.

Sharing similar sentiments, the 28-member European Union Council President Donald Tusk also said that both the EU and the ASEAN can "counter terrorism" together.

In his inimitable style, President Duterte summed up the apprehension of regional players vis-a-vis terrorism and said, “Half of the time during the interventions what was discussed actually was the issue of terrorism".

"Everybody’s scared with the new vogue of dying suddenly in the explosion of any… whatever,” he said.

Duterte said the leaders of the 10-member regional bloc and their dialogue partners, including China, India and the United States, vowed to work together to combat terror groups.

“We vowed to work closely. We discussed it in confidential meetings. We have agreed on so many things to enhance the defense of our country," Mr Duterte has been quoted as saying in 'The Manila Times'.

The EU Council chief Mr Tusk maintained a rather tone of optimism and said, "If we look at security issues, it is very evident now how close our regions (EU and ASEAN) have become.But we can mitigate this threat through cooperation, by working together, sharing information on suspects and other concerns".

Mr Tusk told the ASEAN-EU Summit here on Tuesday that, the EU is also willing to learn "counter terrorism measures and techniques from ASEAN counterparts".

"Many of our interests coincide, as do many of the challenges we face," he said, according to Malayasia-based newspaper 'Malaya'.

However, in his observation - leaving many issues to be judged and decided at a later stage, Philippines President Duterte said, ".....unfortunately, these are the things (the new counter terror strategies) which I cannot really talk about in public".

The President said many of the leaders sent their condolences over the deaths of over a hundred soldiers and congratulated the Philippine military for winning the anti-terror war in Marawi city.

About a month before the ASEAN Summit -- which was also attended by global leaders like Donald Trump -- the Philippines President declared the "liberation" of Marawi City from Maute terrorists.

Mr Duterte also marking the end of Philippines' chairmanship of ASEAN vowed that his country would remain steadfast and committed to the ideals and values of the bloc.

In his opening remarks at the 31st ASEAN Summit here yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told the esteemed gathering that: "We (ASEAN and countries like India) have individually strived very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time that we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area".

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