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Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 16:11 GMT
Malaysia to set up 'anti-terror' centre
A pro-Taliban protester makes his voice heard last autumn
Malaysia has arrested 70 militants over the past year

The United States has asked Malaysia to host a regional counter-terrorism training centre.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi told reporters that US President George W Bush made the suggestion during a meeting with south-east Asian leaders at a summit in Mexico.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
Prime Minister Mahathir has been fighting militants

The proposal comes after two weeks, during which the region has suffered a series of bomb attacks on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali and across the southern Philippines.

Mr Badawi said the centre would help the 10 nations in the Asean group prove their ability to stop such attacks by militants.

He told Malaysia's national news agency that he believed the country's long experience of counter-insurgency - dating back to its fight against communist rebels in the 1950s - had made it the prime choice to be the host.

More recently, Malaysia has been a key player in the United States' "war on terrorism", arresting more than 70 suspected militants in the last year.

Information

The possibility of setting up a counter-terrorism institute was first raised by US Secretary of State Colin Powell during a visit to Kuala Lumpur in July.

The centre could be up and running next year.

Mr Badawi also said that during the meeting at Los Cabos in Mexico, President Bush had urged Asean leaders to continue to improve their sharing of information about militant groups.

Other proposals made at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group summit include moves for tightening security around shipping and trade, and for tougher measures to prevent money laundering.

See also:

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24 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
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