EFFORTS towards realising the ASEAN Community by 2015 is set to top the agenda of discussions among leaders over the three-day 21st ASEAN Summit chaired by Cambodia in its capital Phnom Penh.
Speaking during the summit's opening ceremony at the Peace Palace yesterday, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen called for ASEAN leaders to prioritise the 2015 deadline through the timely implementation of programmes and plans of actions towards building the ASEAN Community.
He stressed that the accomplishment of the ASEAN Community Roadmap, a mid-term review of the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan II (2009-2015) and a timely implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity are urgent matters.
In order to improve the operational efficiency of ASEAN institutions and processes, Hun Sen said that leaders should continue to exert their efforts in finalising a complete legal framework in line with the ASEAN Charter. He believes that the early ratification of the protocol on the charters Dispute Settlement Mechanisms will uphold the culture of compliance within ASEAN.
We need to further strengthen coordination among executing agencies to promote resource mobilisation, and incorporate regional agreements into national development programmes and plans of member states, he added.
Hun Sen stated that maintaining regional peace and security is indispensable for ASEAN's prosperity and inclusive growth in the entire ASEAN region. In this regard, ASEAN has to further strengthen its capacity and role in the discussions and cooperation mechanisms with ASEAN dialogue partners to address issues related to regional peace and security, he said.
The prime minister recommended these tasks to be addressed along with the ongoing efforts in its implementation under the ASEAN Political-Security Community blueprint, thereby promoting the effective functioning of existing mechanisms to ensure regional peace and security.
We should continue to work together to maintain ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture and further strengthen cooperation with our partners at all levels, especially through the ASEAN Plus One and ASEAN Plus Three frameworks based on concrete strategies and action plans on economic cooperation including trade, he said.
The ASEAN member states were also told to be more active in providing recommendations and undertaking measures to enhance the operational efficiency of ASEAN-led regional cooperation frameworks to respond to global challenges, including security and terrorism among others.
Hun Sen further pointed out that strengthening and expanding good cooperation among ASEAN sectoral ministers is another key factor in addressing regional and global challenges, such as financial and economic crisis, climate change, the depletion of natural resources and pandemics.
For this purpose, ASEAN should foster comprehensive cooperation with development partners as well as increasing its participation in the international community, especially with the United Nations system and with advanced industrialised countries, he said.
In his speech, the prime minister noted that the 21st ASEAN Summit is taking place at a time when ASEAN is justly proud of its great achievements in cooperation over the past 45 years, particularly the recent accomplishments in ASEAN Community building in the three pillars, namely political-security community, economic community and socio-cultural community.
The Brunei Times
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