Accessibility links

New Zealand PM Clark in Indonesia for Terrorism Talks - 2002-05-05

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark arrived in the Indonesian capital Jakarta Sunday to discuss joint measures to combat international terrorism. Her visit comes amid signs of increased regional cooperation in dealing with terrorist threats.

New Zealand officials say discussions between Ms. Clark and the Indonesian president on Monday are expected to focus on people-smuggling and international and regional terrorism.

In addition to talks with President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Ms. Clark is also expected to meet Indonesian Islamic leaders during her two-day stay.

Indonesia has been criticized by its neighbors for not doing enough to clamp down on extremist groups that may be linked to regional terror.

Malaysia has arrested dozens of suspected militants under its internal security act, which allows the government to hold without trial those suspected of threatening national security. Singapore has also made arrests.

Indonesian forces on Saturday arrested the leader of the Laskar Jihad, an extremist group blamed for intensifying violence between Muslims and Christians in eastern Indonesia. Laskar Jihad leaders deny any links to international terrorist organizations.

The New Zealand prime minister's visit comes as Indonesia prepares to sign an anti-terror agreement with the Philippines and Malaysia.

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is expected in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday to witness the signing of the accord with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Few details about the agreement have been made public, but officials say it deals largely with the sharing of intelligence information. Thailand may also later become a signatory.

Prime Minister Mahathir is due to travel to Washington later this month for talks with U.S. President George W. Bush on several issues, including regional security.