G-20 leaders to redouble efforts to combat terror

World leaders and delegates wave as they pose for a family photograph at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Brisbane, Australia.
World leaders and delegates wave as they pose for a family photograph at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Brisbane, Australia. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

They intend to focus on better coordination, tightening borders and aviation safety

Leaders of the world's major economies have vowed to step up efforts to combat terrorism as they gathered for the Group of 20 (G-20) summit that began yesterday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to send a "very strong, tough message" on extremist violence in the wake of last Friday night's attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people.

The G-20 traditionally discusses economic issues, and a key focus this year is enabling and sustaining inclusive growth amid a slowing world economy. Mr Erdogan told leaders from 25 countries: "There is a strong link between economy and security. Neither can be neglected."

The summit began with leaders, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, observing a minute of silence for victims of terror attacks, including those in Paris and last month's blasts in Ankara.

They then discussed the global economy, growth and employment before a working dinner on tackling terrorism and the refugee crisis.

Earlier in the day, United States President Barack Obama said after meeting Mr Erdogan that they would go all out to bring down terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which had claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.

"We will redouble our efforts, working with other members of the coalition, to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria and to eliminate Daesh as a force that can create so much pain and suffering for people in Paris and Ankara and other parts of the globe," Mr Obama said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said: "We will work more closely with the international community to reject and fight terrorism in all its manifestations."

A draft statement to be issued by leaders will call for better coordination and exchange of information to cut off funding and reach a more comprehensive approach on addressing conditions conducive to terrorism, Bloomberg reported.

They will also look at tightening borders and bolstering aviation safety. "We are concerned over the acute and growing flow of foreign terrorist fighters and the threat it poses for all states, including countries of origin, transit and destination," the statement is expected to say.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon welcomed the urgency to find a solution, saying there was a "rare moment" of diplomatic opportunity for world leaders to work together to end the violence.

Mr Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, called on political leaders to cooperate more, communicate better and upgrade systems.

"We all, as citizens, should do our best to support our authorities so that we can facilitate their work," he said.

But governments and organisations also need to "take a look at some of the issues that generate these phenomena... and try to go to their origins to avoid having frustrated young men and women completely de-link from their values, families, societies, countries, allegiances, loyalties in order to join the most unworthy of causes".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2015, with the headline 'G-20 leaders to redouble efforts to combat terror'. Print Edition | Subscribe