Published on - 8/4/2008
TERRORISM FEATURED prominently in the addresses of the SAARC leaders at the inauguration of the 15th SAARC Summit. They were united in condemnation of terrorism and warning of the threat it posed to development of the region.
Here are their observations:
Sri Lanka : 'Redouble our collective efforts for collective action to combat terrorism'
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
As we meet today, most countries of our region are faced with the curse of terrorism that threatens the peace and stability that is needed so much for the forward march of our people. No country in the SAARC region â€¦â€¦. has been spared of this plague. We need to redouble our efforts for collective action to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is important to remember the element of interdependence which is crucial for a durable peace and the protection of democratic values in the region.
We must ensure strengthening regional legal mechanisms and intensifying intelligence sharing, in order to secure the region's collective prosperity, peace and stability. Further, I would strongly suggest that in-depth studies are carried out to understand the social impact of this menace. Sri Lanka has seen the benefits of such cooperation in combating the terrorism in our midst and hopefully eradicating it sooner, than many once expected.
1. My gratitude must go to all our regional partners and our many friends from other quarters that have cooperated with us in this matter. In my view it is also necessary that we, as a region, endeavour to set right the many wrong impressions that exist, or are promoted elsewhere, about the actions that are imperative to protect our people and societies from the brutalities of terrorism. Terrorism anywhere is terrorism and there are no good terrorists or bad terrorists.
Afghanistan â€“ \"wild fires of terrorism spreading across the region\" President Hamid Kharzai of Afghanistan, who opened his address with an apology to India for the terrorist attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, said: \"No amount of outrage and condemnation can suffice to express the anger and frustration we all feel when faced with such mindless brutality and violence.
\"I am sure you will realize that these terrorist attacks are a rapidly growing threat, not just to Afghanistan or India, but throughout the entire SAARC region. Considering the many threats facing South Asia, President Karzai said that terrorism is by far the greatest and m most menacing threat of all.
While the people of Afghanistan today are the bearing brunt of international terrorism on a daily basis, it is with tremendous trepidation that we watch the wild fires of terrorism spreading across the region.
Bangladesh â€“ \"committed against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations\"
The deadly fangs of terrorism are spreading across the region. They threaten to disrupt peace and stability. We must combat this menace of terrorism across the broadest possible spectrum, said the Head of Government and Chief Advisor of Bangladesh Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed.
\"I like to reiterate that Bangladesh stands with resolve to deal with this issue forcefully and effectively. Let me announce unequivocally that Bangladesh is committed against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Terrorism has perpetrated brutal attacks in every part of the world. We condemn the heinous terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan in recent times, which caused unnecessary loss of valuable lives and property.
\"Bangladesh as a signatory to the international conventions against terrorism both globally and regionally, is in the process of enacting relevant domestic laws for their effective implementation at the national level,\" Dr. Ahmed said. Bhutan â€“\"a grim reminder of this menace that continues to haunt and plague our region'
We unequivocally condemn these senseless and reprehensible acts of violence; regardless of how sublime, noble and even desperate a cause may be, said Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Y Thinley of Bhutan condemning terrorism.
The Bhutanese Prime Minister said \"As we strive to improve the welfare of our people, they continue to suffer the pain of insecurity and fear from terrorism and other transnational crimes.
The recent acts of terrorism in our region are a grim reminder of this menace that continues to haunt and plague our region. My peaceful country too has been afflicted by this scourge, and over the last few years has had to grapple with the terrorist a series of terrorist activities.
We unequivocally condemn these senseless and reprehensible acts of violence. Regardless of how sublime, noble and even desperate a cause may be, we can never justify the means that can kill and maim innocent men, women and children in the most cowardly and barbaric ways.
Let us renew the commitment we made in the 14th SAARC Summit to find the best and most practical means to implement the provisions of the existing SAARC conventions on Terrorism, Drugs, Trafficking in women and children and other transitional crimes.\"
India â€“\"single biggest threat to our stability and progress\"
\"Terrorism continues to rear its ugly head in our region. It remains the single biggest threat to our stability and to our progress. We cannot afford to lose the battle against the ideologies of hatred, fanaticism and against all those who seek to destroy our social fabric, said Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
\"Terrorists and extremists know no borders. The recent attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad in the last few days are gruesome reminders of the barbarity that still finds a place here in South Asia. We must act jointly and with determination to fight this scourge. We must defend the values of pluralism, peaceful coexistence and the rule of law.\"
Maldives â€“ \"strengthen collective efforts to combating the scourge of terrorism\"
Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said it was the most important duty of SAARC to undertake all efforts to strengthen collective efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism.
\"SAARC member states want to live together in harmony and peace. I believe, therefore, that it is our most important duty to undertake all efforts to strength peace and stability in the region, and our collective efforts to combating the scourge of terrorism
\"The SAARC convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters will complement the efforts of the law enforcement agencies for greater regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism,\" the Maldivian President said.
Pakistan â€“ \"We need to fight it individually as well as collectively\"
The world is facing today the menace of extremism and terrorism, which has shattered the entire value system of peoples and interferes with socio-economic development,\" said Mr. Makhdoom Raza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan.
\"I condemn the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Pakistan has suffered from terrorism, which afflicts all countries of this region. We too have lost a great leader in Benazir Bhutto because of terrorism. It is our joint responsibility to rid our region of this menace. We need to fight it individually as well as collectively.
\"The forthcoming g meetings of the SAASRCB Police Chiefs and Home and Internal Ministers in Islamabad, which takes place later this year, will focus on strengthening regional cooperation against terrorism,\" he said. (Courtesy: The Island)