Date: 01-09-2002

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For more information on the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum hit


Speech today by Charles Morrison, president, East-West Center, on the future of Asia-Pacific cooperation:

Resolutions: Terrorism:

Economics and Trade:

Middle East Peace Process:

Gender Equality:

Global Warming:

Technology Sharing in Environmental Protection:

Security: International Dimensions:

HONOLULU (Jan. 9) -- The 10th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum ended today with terrorism "being the glue" that tied together delegates from 25 nations in the region.

Parliamentarians passed 13 resolutions on topics that spread from the Middle East peace process and global warming to gender equality and disaster management. But cooperation on terrorism was the main focus.

"It was the glue that tied us all together," said U.S. Rep. Amo Houghton, co-chair of the forum with U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

In comments to delegates today, Charles Morrison, president of the East-West Center, which served as secretariat for the meeting, said regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region is still relatively new. "Just 25 years ago there was not even a concept of Asia-Pacific as a region," he said. "In the last 10 years there have been all kinds of ideas and organizations, but so much of the structure of regional cooperation is very new and quite untested."

Australia Sen. Winston Crane, the head of his country's delegation, said Australia was pleased with the unanimous support received on terrorism, economics and trade and the trafficking of people across borders. "It was precisely what we wanted," Crane said, adding that the resolution on human-trafficking will have a significant impact on helping Australia with the problem.

Resolutions have no binding effect, but parliamentarians can use them as guides to writing legislation in their home countries. Delegates say more important is the networking among them while tackling global and regional problems.

Highlights of discussions at the plenary sessions, which were closed to the public:

-- Terrorism: Countries were unanimous in condemning terrorism in all its forms — international, regional and local — and encouraging cooperation with the United Nations to combat terrorism. The meeting called upon all members to sign, ratify and implement, as soon as possible, relevant international conventions and protocols on terrorism, especially those relating to money-laundering.

Delegates were concerned that terrorism may become more of a threat in the future because of the potential use of weapons of mass destruction. They called upon countries to make further efforts toward the solution of a wide variety of political, economic and social problems, including poverty and regional conflicts, which terrorists could take advantage of to justify their attacks. The rule of law was seen as one way to combat terrorism.

-- Economics and Trade: Delegates agreed on the importance of maintaining an international trading regime that promotes balanced trading relationships that are beneficial to both developed and developing countries. They discussed the consequences of artificial barriers to trade and the importance of regional financial cooperation and the resolution of currency issues.

-- Politics and Security: There was consensus to encourage all parties to restart the Middle East peace process based on the mutual recognition of an independent Palestinian state and border security for the state of Israel. At the urging of Australia, with input from Singapore, the meeting agreed that "people-smuggling" and "human trafficking" threatens the security of the Asia-Pacific region. Members were encouraged to promote the role of women in their respective societies by moving toward the ideal of a gender-equal society, with particular emphasis on enhancing female participation in the political process.

-- Environmental Outlook: The delegates expressed concern over the impact of global warming on the Asia-Pacific region, called for regional strategies for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and urged the adoption of policies that promote sustainable resource usage.

-- Information Technology and Education: The delegates urged the creation of an information technology (IT) network to share information on successful environmental protection programs.

For more information on the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum and for speeches presented at the meeting, check
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