Minister Wiranto invites ASEAN members to cooperate in tackling drug trafficking

JAKARTA — Indonesia has invited ASEAN countries to cooperate in tackling drug trafficking.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, speaking at the meeting of the 14th ASEAN Political and Security Council in Vientiane, Laos, on Tuesday, gave a clarion call to ASEAN countries to join hands to respond to the problem of illicit drug trafficking.

“Indonesia, like many other countries in ASEAN, is increasingly facing the problem of illicit drug trafficking by sea. We must strengthen our joint efforts in responding to this problem,” Wiranto said in a written statement received by ANTARA here on Tuesday.

In a forum attended by ministers from 10 ASEAN member countries, Wiranto reported the successful launch of Asean Seaport Intredection Task Force (ASITF) in July, which will eventually lead to the formation of ASITF Focal Points to combat drug-related crimes.

ASITF is a forum that reflects the commitment of ASEAN countries to eradicate drugs. Its purpose is to act as a platform for law enforcement officials to collaborate, coordinate and take initiative to prohibit illicit drug trafficking through checkpoints at international ports in the ASEAN region.

“The extent of drug trafficking in Indonesia is increasingly a matter of worrying. Though it is not an easy task, the new body should be able to free the ASEAN countries of the problem of drug trafficking,” Minister Wiranto observed.

In addition to drug eradication efforts, Wiranto also invited the ministers of friendly countries to jointly safeguard the territorial waters of Southeast Asia.

Joint security is needed considering the number of cases of robbery and kidnapping in Sulu Sea, the southern Philippines.

“We are very concerned about the threat to maritime security as reflected in the increasing number of sea robberies, incidents of hijacking and kidnapping in Sulu Sea,” Wiranto argued.

In addition, Indonesia also ASEAN countries for more commitment in combating illegal fishing, happening across its waters.

“As the largest maritime ASEAN member country with extensive maritime potential, Indonesia will continue to enforce the law against illegal fishing to ensure the sustainability of our marine resources,” he emphasized. PNA/Antara/