HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei yesterday underscored the importance of maintaining momentum to strengthen community building efforts and enhance the engagement with ASEAN dialogue partners.
In the titah delivered during the plenary session of the 21st ASEAN Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, His Majesty told his counterparts that it is vital to implement the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) targets by 2015 towards creating a more lucrative, competitive and stable region.
This will show the commitment to bring economic prosperity and set a conducive environment for ASEAN to implement its goals towards great political and social stability, said His Majesty, adding that ASEAN should ensure the effectiveness of its connectivity.
The monarch observed that ASEAN continues to benefit from the cooperation with its dialogue partners over the past decades. He believed that it is timely to review the relationship in order to enhance the collaboration towards supporting ASEAN's community building efforts alongside mutual benefit. The summit is a good opportunity to (do this), he said.
His Majesty recommended a streamlining of the meetings to focus on more strategic discussions backed by an efficient secretariat. In this regard, he noted that the continued efforts undertaken by the ASEAN Secretary-General are crucial.
At the end of the titah, His Majesty expressed his appreciation of Dr Surin Pitsuwan, who will be completing his term as the ASEAN Secretary General, for his valuable contribution for the past five years in promoting ASEAN. His Majesty also expressed his support of Le Luong Minh as the successor and hoped that he will ensure the realisation of the ASEAN Community by 2015.
Meanwhile, in another titah delivered during the summits retreat session, His Majesty commented that ASEAN has enjoyed peace, security and stability for many years through the role of driving regional integration and bringing economic prosperity to the region.
ASEAN continues to be confronted with various challenges such as the on-going territorial disputes; competing initiatives in the Asia-Pacific; and the challenges in managing the interests of Dialogue Partners, which in turn called the credibility of ASEAN and its relevance, said His Majesty.
The monarch called on ASEAN leaders to show collective leadership and to engage with partners constructively with the existing mechanisms coupled with their strengths in assisting ASEAN to achieve its community building efforts. His Majesty further stated that the member states need to continue taking the lead in setting the agendas and priorities in the region. These are matters that ASEAN should focus on and will be continued during the chairmanship, he said, adding that he counted on the full support from his counterparts to ensure ASEAN's central role and in addressing the peoples needs.
During the retreat session, he also expressed deep concern over the Gaza Strip. The conflict should be resolved peacefully. There is a need to work with the international community to address the situation urgently and help to find a lasting and durable solution, he said.
Yesterday saw the launch of the 21st ASEAN Summit at the Peace Palace, where His Majesty joined other ASEAN leaders for the opening ceremony followed by a plenary session, signing ceremony on the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, meeting with ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and retreat session.
Throughout the summit, His Majesty will be accompanied by the Second Finance Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Lalia Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim.
Brunei's delegation also include the Second Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, and the Energy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar.
Afterwards, His Majesty and the Brunei delegation, joined by Brunei's ambassador to Cambodia His Excellency Shaikh Hj Fadilah Shaikh Hj Ahmad, paid tribute to the late King Norodom Sihanouk, King Father of Cambodia at the Royal Palace.
His Majesty also conveyed his deepest condolences on the recent passing of King Father Norodom Sihanouk to His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia and Her Majesty Queen Norodom Monineath, the King Mother, prior to signing the condolence book.
The Brunei Times
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