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Indonesian, Thai Leaders Discuss Cooperation Against Terrorism - 2002-01-17

Cooperation against terrorism and sharing intelligence dominated talks Thursday between Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Jakarta.

Mrs. Megawati says she and Mr. Thaksin were trying to solidify the anti-terrorism effort within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations but did not give any details. She says the two leaders also discussed such issues as illegal fishing and smuggling between the two countries.

Mr. Thaksin is in Indonesia for a two-day official visit, his first to Indonesia since his election in February 2000. The Thai Prime Minister says his visit reaffirms the strategic alliance between the two countries and gives an opportunity to discuss shared problems. "We discussed a number of issues of mutual concern including cultural cooperation, political and security, trade and fishery cooperation, cooperation on rubber, on investment, Asia cooperation, dialogue. And also I included the suggestion that minister counterparts should meet each other more often, even discuss the issues over the phone so we can get them done faster with a sincerity on both sides," Mr. Thaksin said.

The 10 members of ASEAN signed an agreement last November to stamp out terrorism. Singapore and Malaysia have recently arrested several people they say have links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network. They also say those arrested have links to militant Islamic groups in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation and has several militant Islamic groups, but the vast majority of Indonesians are moderate Muslims.

Indonesian officials say they have found no evidence of al-Qaida in the country.