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MFA Press Statement: Visit by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman to Washington D.C., United States of America, 5 to 7 Feb 2019

07 February 2019

Senior Minister of State (SMS), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visited Washington D.C. from 5 to 7 February 2019 to attend the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS hosted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on 6 February 2019.  At the Ministerial Meeting, SMS Maliki reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to the Coalition’s efforts to combat terrorism, and emphasised the importance of international cooperation and intelligence sharing as well as the region’s collective efforts in preventing and deterring terror attacks.  The full text of SMS Maliki’s intervention is appended.   

 

During his visit, SMS Maliki met Deputy National Security Advisor Charles Kupperman and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale on 6 February 2019.  Both sides affirmed the robust and longstanding bilateral relations between Singapore and the US, and discussed the US’ deepening engagement of the region in the areas of infrastructure, smart cities and cybersecurity.   

 

SMS Maliki also met with National Security Advisor to the Vice President Keith Kellogg, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randy Schriver, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Member of the HASC Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut) on 7 February 2019.  Both sides discussed ways to further advance bilateral relations, and exchanged views on developments in the Asia-Pacific region as well as ways to enhance US-ASEAN cooperation.

 

 

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SINGAPORE

7 FEBRUARY 2019

 

 

INTERVENTION BY SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE AND MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DR MOHAMAD MALIKI BIN OSMAN AT THE MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF THE GLOBAL COALITION TO DEFEAT ISIS FOR PLENARY SESSION II: THE COALITION IN 2019 AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON DC ON 6 FEBRUARY 2019

 

 

Excellencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

 

1 ISIS poses a clear and present danger to Southeast Asia.  Setbacks in the Middle East have only prompted ISIS to focus elsewhere, including in our region, where it has declared its intention to set up a wilayat.  Just last month, ISIS-linked terrorists set off twin bomb attacks in a cathedral in South Philippines, killing at least 20 and injuring over 100. 

 

2 The region remains in a heightened state of alert.  With over 1000 foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria from Southeast Asia, there is a very real threat posed by returning fighters and radicalised individuals, enticed by ISIS’s pervasive ideology in cyberspace. 

 

3 As the first Southeast Asian country to join the Coalition, Singapore remains committed to fighting the global threat of terrorism.  The Singapore Armed Forces has deployed Imagery Analysis Teams, KC-135R air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft, and medical teams to support the Coalition’s efforts.  This year, we are committed to building the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces through the deployment of our Counter-Terrorism Training Unit (CTTU).

 

Singapore’s Efforts

 

4 We believe that international cooperation and intelligence sharing is key to the prevention and deterrence of such attacks.  Singapore adopted the themes of “resilience” and “innovation” for our ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018 because we recognised the need to strengthen our region’s collective resilience against transboundary threats, such as those posed by ISIS.  The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) last year prioritised the building up of regional counter-terrorism capabilities.  As ADMM Chair, Singapore facilitated the adoption of the “Our Eyes” Initiative in January 2018, which is an intelligence sharing platform aimed at improving cooperation on security threats against Islamist militants.  In October 2018, Singapore hosted the Southeast Asia Counter-Terrorism Symposium to foster regional cooperation in tackling the threat of terrorism.  In November 2018, Singapore launched the inaugural Police Specialist (POLSPEC) Conference to enhance international cooperation in combatting terrorism.

 

5 Domestically, Singapore adopts a “not if but when” approach to ensure we are ready to respond in the event of an attack.  In addition to developing a robust security response, we also emphasise community leadership and resilience in the fight against terror.  Singapore has implemented a mandatory accreditation scheme, known as the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), to manage Islamist teaching in Singapore by only qualified Islamic religious teachers and scholars.  The SGSECURE national movement aims to sensitise, train and mobilise the community to play a part to prevent and deal with a terror attack.  The Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), a voluntary organisation, has actively worked with individuals and communities to counter radicalisation efforts, both online and offline. 

 

6 Combatting terrorism requires a concerted, committed, and holistic response.  Singapore will continue to explore how we may contribute to the Coalition and other counter-terrorism initiatives, as well as facilitate counter-terrorism intelligence-sharing cooperation in the region.

 

7 Thank you.

 

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Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman delivering Singapore’s intervention at the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on 6 February 2019.

 

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on 6 February 2019.

 

Meeting between Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman and US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale on 6 February 2019.

 

Meeting between Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman and US Deputy National Security Advisor Charles Kupperman on 6 February 2019.

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