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Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 04:07 GMT
Asia Pacific leaders tackle terror threat
Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-Hua (l) talks with Japan's PM Junichiro Koizumi, in front of the Chilean, Indonesian and US presidents
Apec meetings usually focus on economic concerns

Heads of state from the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Group have agreed on a range of new policies aimed at preventing terrorist attacks.

The APEC leaders, meeting in the Mexican resort of Cabo San Lucas for their annual summit, agreed to put in place wide-reaching security reforms for the transport of goods, as well as cracking down on money laundering.

Investigators at scene of attack
The Bali attack has raised new terror fears

Trade within the APEC nations runs into trillions of dollars.

Much of that goes by sea and it's this type of commerce that received a special focus from the heads of state.

They agreed to strengthen the procedures for pre-checking cargo containers to make sure they're not being used by terrorist groups.

Security issues

Also on the list of agreements was a commitment to tighten up the monitoring of remittances sent across the region by overseas workers and the flow of funds through charitable institutions.

Both are seen as key areas of funding for militant groups across the world.

Indonesian President Megawati and US President George Bush
Bush: Offered condolences over the Bali bombing
These measures will be complemented on Sunday by further counter-terrorism policies when the heads of state reveal the summit's final declaration.

They are likely to include ambitious plans to standardise customs procedures across the APEC region within the next three years.

The concern over terror attacks from extremist groups has dominated a conference that usually focuses on economic issues, like reducing trade barriers and fighting corruption.

Security issues also took centre stage during bilateral talks between US President George Bush and his Indonesian counterpart, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

President Bush offered his condolences for the lives lost in the bombing of a Bali nightclub two weeks ago.

He saluted the steps Indonesia has taken to fight extremist groups, but added that the country still had a long way to go.

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The BBC's Brian Hanrahan
"Colin Powell told reporters that it was time to bring the UN debate to a head"

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26 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
17 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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