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Singapore committed to global efforts to prevent, counter radicalisation and violent extremism: FM Balakrishnan

Singapore committed to global efforts to prevent, counter radicalisation and violent extremism: FM Balakrishnan

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan at the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Rome on Jun 28, 2021. (Photo: MFA)

SINGAPORE: Singapore remains committed to global and regional efforts to prevent and counter the rise of radicalisation and violent extremism, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said at the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

At the meeting in Rome on Monday (Jun 28), Dr Balakrishnan highlighted Singapore’s efforts to counter terrorism through close community engagement and domestic security response preparedness.

“Singapore adopts a ‘not if, but when’ approach to counter-terrorism,” Dr Balakrishnan said.

“Extremism and radicalisation are not confined to any single religion, race, gender or age,” he said, adding that a robust domestic security response “is essential but insufficient”.

Dr Balakrishnan told the meeting, which is co-chaired by Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi di Maio and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that Singapore works closely with the community and religious organisations to identify radicalised individuals.

“We need trust and unity amongst different groups, and eliminate misperceptions or prejudice wherever they arise.”

READ: Self-radicalisation main terror threat in Singapore; far-right extremism an emerging concern: ISD report

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION THROUGH INFORMATION-SHARING FACILITY IN SINGAPORE

A new Counter-Terrorism Information Facility set up in Singapore this year will allow like-minded countries to share intelligence and pool monitoring and analysis capabilities in the fight against the Islamic State, Dr Balakrishnan said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan at the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Rome on Jun 28, 2021. (Photo: Angelo Carconi)

“As the first Southeast Asian country to contribute personnel and assets to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Singapore is heartened that our combined efforts have culminated in ISIS’s territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria,” he added.

However, the Islamic State's “brand of radicalism and violence persists, including in Southeast Asia”,  Dr Balakrishnan said, as the terrorist group continues to exploit the digital sphere to extend its networks and propagate extremism.

“Our fight continues,” Dr Balakrishnan added.

“Global terrorism does not respect borders, and can only be defeated through collective action.”  

Dr Balakrishnan also had bilateral meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic Nikos Dendias and the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the conference.

Source: CNA/vc(ta)

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