KUALA LUMPUR: Parliamentarians from 23 Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States, have unanimously backed Malaysia’s stand that a multilateral approach be used to combat terrorism.
A great majority of the parliamentarians, who are attending the 11th Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum annual meeting here, also voiced support for Malaysia’s position that the United Nations should take the lead in the anti-terrorism war.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in his keynote address, said it was “time that the world pause and rethink” that problems could be resolved by oppressing other people or destroying their countries.
“The law and policy makers of the world cannot limit their interest to their countries alone.
“They have to be interested in the whole world,” he said, adding that coming together to discuss their national problems as international issues would be beneficial for the world. (See page 2)
More than 150 delegates are attending the three-day meeting, which will discuss issues covering political, security, transnational, economic and environmental matters.
Agreeing with Dr Mahathir, Canada’s head of delegation Bryon Wilfret said that only the United Nations could decide on the course of action against countries which possessed weapons of mass destruction.
The UN council should be the appropriate body to decide whether any country possessed biological or nuclear weapons, based on reports by the UN inspectors, he said.
US delegation leader congressman Amory Houghton, speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the meeting, also concurred that the world would have to work together to curb terrorism.
He said that his country would obviously have to work closely with the UN Security Council on this matter.
Explaining the US plan of pre-emptive strike against Iraq, he said that because the United Nations did nothing, President George W. Bush finally said the United States had to do something positive.
“I think we are all critical about Iraq; we don’t want to do anything pre-emptively but we want to protect ourselves.”
On the perception that the US was practising double standard when dealing with the Iraq conflict and North Korea’s nuclear programme, he said:
“I don’t know if there is any single standard on anything. What we are trying to do is to do the thing that is best under the circumstances.”
China’s head of delegation Xu Dunxin said the international community should set clear goals and have evidence in handling terrorism and refrain from praticising double standard.
“Provocative measures are not helpful and should be avoided,” he said.
Japan’s Yoshiko Yashashita said solutions to the Iraq issue should be sought through the United Nations.
The matter should be an international issue and handled with reference to international laws and practices, he said.
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